NOS on ice•
On the right is a slum, on the left is Medellín’s busiest artery. In the middle, a blond tail in a green and white ski suit races along the road at 35 kilometers per hour.
After a winning ski season, Erin Schouten was looking for a new adventure. This research has led her to Colombia in recent weeks.
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Olympic Champion Schouten looking for adventure in Skellarwalhalla, Colombia
Even before her successful Olympic mission, Scotten took the lead. She extended her contract with the Jillert Anema team, the chosen track still has a lot of potential. She doesn’t want to switch to another team now.
“I understand that athletes who have been running the same program for years after this Olympic season are looking for a new incentive. But I solve it in a different way,” says Scotten with a big smile, looking at the Colombian capital.
Not to the same mountain again
She crossed the ocean with her husband Dirkjan Mack and her twin brothers Kai and Rick Chipper, direct skaters who had been in South America several times before. Not for the ninth time in a row for three weeks on a barren mountain in Italy, but training in an entirely new environment.
“In Italy I knew exactly what training to do on which mountain. I really wanted something different.” Columbia was quickly selected. Schouten has been combining skating and inline skating since she was little. The South American country is the cradle of sport on wheels.
The Bain club in southern Medellin wanted to include the three-time gold medal winner in their three-week training pool. “I think I would have welcomed the Games. But medals of course help.”
The club won the National Club Championship last year in a country where snowboarding is the third sport after football and cycling. “It’s the best club in the country, but I think it’s actually the best club in the world.”
Meanwhile, her training buddies are no longer surprised by a blonde on their train. But once the training is over, there are always a few who are eager to take a picture. Although this is often a long wait. In fact, each Schouten training spends more time than the rest. “All I do here is work hours. So you have to keep working.”
It is unprecedented. Irene continues to move forward. It really is always the last.
Her coach Anima understands Scott’s desire to do things differently. I got freedom, but one thing was essential. The trip should be a period of training at the heights. Anima likes this physical stimulation at this point in the season.
The apartment I rented is located at an altitude of 2500 meters on top of the Las Palmas climb west of Medellin. Even 700 meters higher than her team’s place in the same weeks.
Just like Van Vleuten and Dumoulin
You mainly train at 1,500 meters at one of the city’s many skating rinks. And on boarding to and from her apartment, because she cycles there just as much. She checked with fellow athletes that cycling on the Colombian hills was fine.
“I’m following Annemiek van Vleuten and Tom Dumoulin. They’ve been here a few times to bike, so I’m sure things will be OK.”
Scotten looked very relaxed during her training break. “You go into town, and you see other things. While it’s always the same at boot camp. Breakfast is too late, training too late and dinner too late. Here I see how it goes, that’s very nice.”
Her coaches aren’t afraid that she trains Scotten too little. “I am often told: Erin, keep enjoying it.” The monster trained in them often needs to be tamed. After more than two weeks you receive a message from the staff: “You have completed the training courses. Everything is fine this way.
“Hard work takes precedence over talent”
But Scottn will never sit still. “It’s unprecedented. Irene keeps walking,” says her husband, Derkjan, hanging over the ski track. “She’s always the last to finish.”
Schouten explains, “Training hard is because I haven’t always been the best in the past. But I’ve always thought: As long as I’m doing my best, I’ve done everything I can. With this attitude, I’ve come a long way. Come on.”
makes her proud. The success you have now comes from hard work. “I think people around me also see that I work hard for it. And it just didn’t come to me. Hard work takes precedence over talent.”
It is important for Schuten to take this journey with her new husband. “I don’t know how long I’m going to play the sport. I’m still really enjoying it now, but I won’t do it for ten years. And you don’t quite take a trip like this. Then it’s so cool. It’s good to do it together. The experience.”
It’s secretly even kind of a honeymoon. “A little bit. When I stop, we want to have a real honeymoon where I can do whatever I want. Now I’m a little strict on myself, because I want to train well.”
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