Saturday 6 June 2020

World All Round Speed Skating Championships (Switzerland, 1977)

This is a stamp with a story so bear with me…

The Men’s World All Round Speed Skating Championships has been held every year since 1892, including seven versions in Davos. The competition involves races over 500m, 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m. Rankings are determined using the wonderfully names samalog system, which converts race times into points, so that competitors are rewarded not for their race positions but for how fast they travel across the ice (it means you can’t get lazy in one of the races if you want to win the overall championship).

The stamp tells us that in 1977 the championship was coming to Davos for the 8th time. However, the speed skating rink in Davos relied on natural ice conditions. Several competitions on other natural rinks had been cancelled because the ice was simply not reliable. Artificial rinks, which could guarantee ice conditions throughout a championship, were becoming more popular.

In 1977, Davos’ rink just wasn’t up to it, so the championship was moved to the artificial rink at Heerenveen in the Netherlands. So this stamp commemorates an event that didn’t exist…

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