Speedskating - Country histories

(with some help from Dirk Broer and Preben Gorud Petersen)

Greece could have been a great speedskating nation if he had gotten his way, Hades or Pluton, the Lord of the Nether Reaches, when he observed the extraordinarily attractive goddess Persephone singing and dancing with her sisters in the lush flowery meadows of the Upper Reaches. He robbed her, because he wanted her for his wife, to brighten up his dark and lacklustre realm a little. But unfortunately, she happened to be a goddess for all the growing and geminating things on the earth, so when she was gone, they stopped growing and geminating; cold winds blew over the fields and they turned bleak and white and desolate.

Of course, this was excellent for winter sport, but not for so much else, and the Upper Reachians, represented by Persephone's parents Demeter and Zeus, went to Hades to negotiate and after some discussion reached a compromise with him. Persephone now was to stay half a year above ground to care for the things that grew and geminated there. And for the rest, she was to stay with her new husband to perform her marital duties with him.

Unfortunately, this arrangement was not so suitable for skating in Greece. Winters can be cold some times in several places, and snow and frost are not unknown in the winters. But the country is located too far to the south, and the winters are in general pretty goddam' awful.

This however did not worry Loukas Patsoulas, who was living in the vicinity of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and had been skating in den Hague for a few years at a modest level. He was learning about skating and skating rinks, and especially, he heard about the famous Bislett stadium, now scheduled to host the world championship for the irrevocably last time. This was something  he could not miss, he decided, and he made a couple of phone calls to sport organizations in his home country, so that, shortly afterwards, his entry to the championship was confirmed as his country's best skater.

Consequently, Greece does have a speedskating history. But it proved short, because when Loukas had skated his distances the first day in 51.12 and 10.15.11, the jury refused his start in the 1500 the day after, to the dismay of the spectators, and perhaps even more to the dismay of Loukas himself. Neither did he see much of Bislett, because the world championship 1989 was moved to Valle Hovin due to the mild weather. Of course, this did not stimulate Greek speedskating to any remarkable extent, and neither does Loukas Patsoulas leave many traces of his skating activities after the championship, he is known to have skated some few races in Berlin in the early 90- and 91-seasons, and two years later he appears once in Innsbruck. It is likely that he has the dubious honour of being the reason for the introduction of qualification times for the championships, a rule which did not exist in his time, but appeared soon afterwards.


Greek records:

Loukas Patsoulas 47.98 Heerenveen 14 Mar 1989
Loukas Patsoulas 1.43.14 Berlin/Sportforum 3 Dec 1989
Loukas Patsoulas 2.42.34 Berlin/Sportforum 2 Dec 1989
Loukas Patsoulas 10.15.11 Oslo/Valle Hovin 11 Feb 1989

The most frequent participants in international senior championships and
olympic games:

1.Loukas Patsoulas 1 representation