Flying Dutchman Nuis breaks 100 kph barrier on natural ice

Three-time Winter Olympic champion speed skater Kjeld Nuis has become the first person to break the 100 kilometers per hour (kph) barrier, shattering his own record set four years ago.

The 32-year-old clocked 103 kph in Tynset, Norway, 10 kph faster than his previous record set in Sweden.

Nuis skated on a three-km-long natural ice rink on Savalen Lake, behind a shield called a "wind catcher" dragged by a Dakar Rally car to reduce wind resistance.

"I was literally flying over the ice. Every little bump felt like a threshold... Skating that fast is technically challenging and requires precision. Moreover, I skated more than two kilometres on each attempt, which I never do in competition," Nuis said.

"So today's tactic was to skate as far as possible into the wind catcher, so that I had enough energy left to make the acceleration from 92 kph to over 100 kph. It was very hard on my body. This is really the maximum that is possible on skates," the skater said, who won gold medals at the Pyeongchang and Beijing Games in the 1,000 m and 1,500 m races.

In the shortest Olympic speed skating race, the 500 m, the men's world record is 33.61 seconds, or about 53 kph.

Nuis skates behind a wind shield towed by a car. /Red Bull

Nuis skates behind a wind shield towed by a car. /Red Bull

The driver behind the wheel of the car was American Seth Quintero, who won 12 stages in the Light Prototype category at this year's Dakar Rally.

"The biggest challenge for me was to accelerate in the right way. I've also never felt so much tension at such a low speed," he said. 

"On the other hand, while riding on the ice, I couldn't imagine anyone achieving that kind of speed with their own legs."

(With input from Reuters)

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