Main sources: Speed_skating yahoogroup, mainly Marnix Koolhaas and Gerard Graas, and Skøytenytt.
Skating superpower under the Equator
In the hot Colombian climate, ice is mostly confined to the loftiest of mountain peaks and the drinks of the cocaine maffia. The only known Colombian records have long been in the hands of Alvaro Gonzales, who sensationally appeared at the Student Winter Games in Bardonecchia, Italy in 1933. He skated 56,2 and 3.04,2, finishing 6th and 7th respectively. In the 500, he had two falling skaters behind him, but in the 1500, which seems to have been skated packstyle, he was outskated by the pack and finished last. His times are the first known by a South-American skater.
More recently, Colombian skaters have been famously powerful in inline speedskating, setting several world records and winning many world championships as well as arranging them. Since roller skating still struggles to gain an entry into the Olympic Games, the temptation to spill over to the ice and gain the chance to win medals like Parra, Cheek and Hedrick, is considerable. Yet the world of ice is a far-off place when you live under the Equator, and though it’s been rumoured for years, Colombians have hesitated to make the switch. Neither is the Colombian skating federation, Federacion Colombiana de Patinaje, yet a member of the ISU.
Finally in 2006, Leonardo and Camilo Echeverri Sandoval were sent to train on ice in Calgary, apparently as part of a scientific experiment in cooperation with the University of Medellin. They achieved some half-decent times at the Olympic Oval finale and Camilo returned at the Oval Invitational in October the same year, but has not appeared since. However, this fall, the World Champion and world record holder Jennifer Caicedo tried the ice in Calgary and set the first female Colombian ice speedskating records. Her goal is to participate in Vancouver and she is sponsored by a Dutch company to this end. So, it has begun. Perhaps we will have the pleasant occasion to become familiar with the face of Jennifer here.
Statistics (December 2008):
Camilo Echeverri Sandoval 41,03 Calgary 24 Mar 2006
Camilo Echeverri Sandoval 1.22,03 Calgary 25 Mar 2006
Camilo Echeverri Sandoval 2.06,77 Calgary 23 Mar 2006
Camilo Echeverri Sandoval 8.04,55 Calgary 21 Oct 2006
Camilo Echeverri Sandoval 164,890 Calgary 24-25 Mar 2006
(41,03 - 1.22,11 - 41,79 - 1.22,03)
Jennifer Alexa Caicedo Meiji 43,80 Calgary 20 Nov 2008
Jennifer Alexa Caicedo Meiji 1.25,06 Calgary 20 Nov 2008
Jennifer Alexa Caicedo Meiji 175,550 Calgary 19-20 Nov 2008
(45,05 - 1.28,34 - 43,80 - 1.25,06)