Ard Schenk

Ard Schenk

Ard Schenk in 2006
Personal information
Nationality Dutch
Born (1944-09-16) 16 September 1944
Anna Paulowna, Netherlands
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 90 kg (198 lb)
Country Netherlands
Sport Speed skating
Turned pro 1973
Retired 1974
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 500 m: 39.8 (1971)
1000 m: 1:20.6 (1968)
1500 m: 2:05.3 (1966)
3000 m: 4:08.3 (1972)
5000 m: 7:09.8 (1972)
10 000 m: 14:55.9 (1971)

Adrianus "Ard" Schenk (born 16 September 1944) is a former speed skater from the Netherlands, who is considered to be one of the best in history. His first Olympic success came in 1968, when he won a silver medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics. Between 1970 and 1972 Winter Olympics, Schenk won three consecutive World Allround Speed Skating Championships. He won three gold medals at the 1972 Winter Olympics, becoming, along with Galina Kulakova of Soviet Union, the most successful athlete there.


Schenk (1965)

Schenk competed in international meets from 1964 on, winning his first medal at the 1965 world championships and his first gold medal at the 1966 European championships. In the late 60s, Schenk was usually bested by his compatriot Kees Verkerk, but in the early 1970s he dominated international speed skating. The winning duo of Ard & Keesie were responsible for a lasting popularity of speed skating in the Netherlands.

Schenk's career peaked in 1972. He won three gold medals during the Olympic Games in Sapporo (a fall on the 500 m precluded gold in all 4 distances). Would the 1000 meters already have been an Olympic distance already, Schenk would have been the favorite for gold, as he had won five of the six 1000 meter races at World Sprint Championship he participated in. The same year, he also won the European Allround and the World Allround Championships. He became World Allround Champion by winning all 4 distances, a feat that nobody had performed since Ivar Ballangrud 40 years earlier, and which only Eric Heiden has repeated since (in 1979). Finally, he won bronze that year at the World Sprint Championships.

The next season (1973), he turned professional with a number of other prominent speed skaters,[1] thereby foregoing the opportunity of winning more championships. The professional circuit lasted two seasons and Schenk retired from speed skating at the relatively young age of 30.

Championships results

Ard Schenk in 1965
Championships Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
Winter Olympics 3 1 0
World Allround Championships 3 2 2
World Sprint Championships 0 0 2
European Allround 3 1 0
Dutch Allround 3 4 1


World records

Schenk was the first to skate the 10,000 meters within 15 minutes, and the first skater to finish the 1500 meters in less than 2 minutes. Over the course of his career he broke a total of 18 (senior) world records, a feat no skater before or after him has bettered. Among men, the sprint specialist Jeremy Wotherspoon came closest with his 16th world record in 2007,[2] while among women long-distance specialist Gunda Niemann equalled Schenk's mark in 2001.[3] By March 1971, Schenk held 6 of the 7 official world records at the same time, missing only the 500 m.[4] His 1000 m record was broken in March 1972 by Erhard Keller, but the other five stood until 1975 to 1978, when world records started to be skated at the high-altitude rink of Medeo.

1500 m2:06.226 January 1966Davos
3000 m4:26.229 January 1966Inzell
1500 m2:05.330 January 1966Inzell
3000 m4:18.425 February 1967Inzell
1000 m1:20.628 February 1967Inzell
1000 m1:20.65 February 1968Davos
3000 m4:12.615 January 1971Davos
1500 m1:58.716 January 1971Davos
Big combination171.31731 January 1971Oslo
10000 m15:01.614 February 1971Gothenburg
Big combination171.13014 February 1971Gothenburg
1000 m1:18.820 February 1971Inzell
5000 m7:12.013 March 1971Inzell
10000 m14:55.914 March 1971Inzell
Big combination168.24814 March 1971Inzell
3000 m4:08.32 March 1972Inzell
5000 m7:09.84 March 1972Inzell
Big combination167.4205 March 1972Inzell


Personal records

To put these personal records in perspective, the column WR lists the official world records on the dates that Schenk skated his personal records, and, since the world records he broke were often his own, the column AE lists the best times skated by anyone else up to those dates.

500 m38.915 January 1971Davos38.4638.46
1000 m1:18.820 February 1971Inzell1:19.21:19.2
1500 m1:58.716 January 1971Davos2:01.92:01.9
3000 m4:08.32 March 1972Inzell4:12.64:15.7
5000 m7:09.84 March 1972Inzell7:
10000 m14:55.914 March 1971Inzell15:01.615:03.6
Big combination167.4205 March 1972Inzell168.248170.648

Schenk has an Adelskalender score of 166.241 points. He was number one on the Adelskalender from 13 January 1966 until 27 February 1967 and again from 13 February 1971 until 19 March 1976 for a total of 6 years and 58 days. The Adelskalender is an all-time allround speed skating ranking.[6]

See also


  1. Koomen 1973
  2. Most world records set by men at
  3. Most world records set by women at
  4. A sprint combination world record was only introduced in the next season.
  5. "Ard Schenk". Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  6. Adelskalender pages of Evert Stenlund


  • Bal, Rien and Van Dijk, Rob. Schaatskampioenen, alles over het seizoen 68-69 (Speedskating Champions, all about the season 68-69) . Amsterdam, the Netherlands: N.V. Het Parool, 1969. (Dutch)
  • Eng, Trond. All Time International Championships, Complete Results: 1889 - 2002. Askim, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2002.
  • Froger, Fred R. Topsporters: Ard Schenk * Kees Verkerk (Elite Athletes: Ard Schenk * Kees Verkerk). Bussum, the Netherlands: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1967. (Dutch)
  • ___________ Winnaars op de schaats (Victors on Skates), Een Parool Sportpocket. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: N.V. Het Parool, 1968. (Dutch)
  • Koomen, Theo. 10 Jaar Topschaatsen (10 Years Elite Speedskating). Laren (NH), the Netherlands: Uitgeverij Luitingh, 1971. ISBN 90-245-0114-8. (Dutch)
  • _________ Topschaatsen 1972 (Elite Speedskating 1972). Laren (NH), the Netherlands: Uitgeverij Luitingh, 1972. ISBN 90-245-0152-0. (Dutch)
  • _________ Topschaatsen 3 (Elite Speedskating 3). Laren (NH), the Netherlands: Uitgeverij Luitingh, 1973. ISBN 90-245-0194-6. (Dutch)
  • Maaskant, Piet. Flitsende Ijzers, De geschiedenis van de schaatssport (Flashing Blades, the History of Dutch Speedskating). Zwolle, the Netherlands: La Rivière & Voorhoeve, 1967 (Second revised and expanded edition). (Dutch)
  • _________ Heya, Heya! Het nieuwe boek van de Schaatssport (Heya, Heya! The New book of Dutch Speedskating). Zwolle, the Netherlands: La Rivière & Voorhoeve, 1970. (Dutch)
  • Peereboom, Klaas. Van Jaap Eden tot Ard Schenk (From Jaap Eden till Ard Schenk). Baarn, the Netherlands: De Boekerij, 1972. ISBN 90-225-0346-1. (Dutch)
  • Schenk, Ard and Racké, Fred. Ard Apart, mijn groei naar de top (Ard on his own, his growth to the Top). Alkmaar, the Netherlands: Verenigde Noordhollandse Dagbladen, 1971. (Dutch)
  • Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater Internasjonale Mesterskap 1889 - 1989: Menn/Kvinner, Senior/Junior, allround/sprint. Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1989. (Norwegian)
  • Van Eyle, Wim. Een Eeuw Nederlandse Schaatssport (A Century of Dutch Speedskating). Utrecht, the Netherlands: Uitgeverij Het Spectrum, 1982. ISBN 90-274-9476-2. (Dutch)
  • Witkamp, Anton and Koning, Dolf (eds.). Schaatsgoud '72 (Speedskating Gold '72). Bussum, the Netherlands: Teleboek NV, 1972. ISBN 90-6122-204-4. (Dutch)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ard Schenk.
Preceded by
Netherlands Anton Geesink
Dutch Sportsman of the Year
with Kees Verkerk

Succeeded by
Netherlands Kees Verkerk
Preceded by
Netherlands Tom Okker
Dutch Sportsman of the Year
1970 to 1972
Succeeded by
Netherlands Johan Cruijff
Preceded by
Norway Dag Fornæss
Oscar Mathisen Award
Succeeded by
Sweden Göran Claeson
Olympic Games
Preceded by
Kees Broekman
Flagbearer for  Netherlands
1964 Innsbruck
Succeeded by
Stien Kaiser

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