Jaap Eden

Jaap Eden

Jaap Eden
Personal information
Born (1873-10-19)19 October 1873
Groningen, Netherlands
Died 2 February 1925(1925-02-02) (aged 51)
Haarlem, Netherlands
Country Netherlands
Sport Speed skating
Retired 1915

Jacobus Johannes "Jaap" Eden[1] (19 October 1873 in Groningen – 2 February 1925) was a Dutch athlete. He is the only male athlete to win world championships in both speed skating and bicycle racing;[2] two women have done so (Sheila Young and Christa Luding-Rothenburger).

Early life

Jaap Eden was born in Groningen to Johannes Eden and Maria Baale. Eden's mother died of complications from his birth. His father, a gymnastics teacher, could not take care of the baby alone, and sent him to his grandparents, who owned a hotel near Santpoort. As a boy, Eden enjoyed running in dunes near his grandparents's home, gymnastics and, in the winter, skating. His speed and skating technique were noticed by the best Dutch skater at the time, Klaas Pander, and he invited the 15-year-old Eden to join him training.

In December 1890, in a short track competition over 160m, Jaap Eden had his first important victory. Eden, 17, was allowed by the Dutch Federation to compete in the world championships.

The championships were organised by the Skating Club of Amsterdam, as there was no international governing body. Only two foreign skaters entered, American Joe Donoghue becoming the first champion1. Eden skated in the shortest two of the four events, placing 3rd and 4th in the half mile and mile, respectively. Eden entered the European Championships in Hamburg, but without any notable success.

Bad weather cancelled the 1892 world championships, while the European Championships that year were only attended by Austrian skaters. Eden did compete in the Prince of Orange Cup in England, where he won his first international competition.

In summer 1892, skating officials from several European countries convened in Scheveningen. The International Skating Union (ISU) was established, and the body's constitution announced annual world championships, over 500 m, 1500 m, 5000 m and 10000 m. The first ISU-governed world championships were to take place on the Museumplein in Amsterdam.

Eden also played bandy on an elite level, when it had been introduced to the Netherlands in 1891.[3]

Skating successes

Two days before the championships, Eden won Dutch championships over 1500m and 5000m. His time in the 1500 m, 2:35.0 is the first ISU-recognised world record in that distance. This made Eden, who trained in Norway earlier that winter, a favourite for the world championships.

In the 1500 m, Eden tied with Oskar Frederiksen (Norway) in the preliminaries, but beat him in a head-to-head final race. He outclassed the field in the 5000m, winning by half a minute, while his main opponent Frederiksen did not finish. Eden was challenged again by Frederiksen in the first run of the 500m on the second day, but in the final Eden again beat the Norwegian. This meant Eden's third victory, sufficient for the world title. Frederiksen skated the first official world record in the 10000m. Eden, skating alone in the last race, fell after the first lap and abandoned the race.

After his victory, Eden was welcomed by a crowd in his home town Haarlem. He became known throughout the country.

The next winter, Eden trained in Hamar, Norway, and travelled to Stockholm for the world championships in early February 1894. Because of bad weather, the championships were held in nearby Saltsjöbaden. The 500m, saw Eden paired with Frederiksen. The Norwegian made a false start, but was unaware of this until the finish. He was requested to re-skate immediately, but he wanted to recover. Eden, convinced Frederiksen would be disqualified, skated alone, finishing in 50.4 seconds. Frederiksen matched it in his second attempt. Jaap Eden did not want to skate a tie-breaker and Frederiksen won after drawing lots.

Eden skated a world record in 10,000m. With 19:12.4, he was half a minute ahead of the others. In the third distance, he lost to Einar Halvorsen, which meant no world champion. Eden failed to finish the final distance after a fall.

Two weeks later, the European championships took place in Hamar. Eden failed to compete on the first day, officially because of the strong wind. However, he was in his hotel with one of the chambermaids. Eden returned to the ice on the second day, and emphatically won the 5,000m in 8:37.6 a world record by almost half a minute. The record remained for nearly 17 years, until it was broken by 0.4 seconds by Nikolay Strunnikov2.

Jaap Eden won two world championships in cycling, one each in 1894 and 1895.


Personal records

Personal records
Men's speed skating
Event Result Date Location Notes
500m 48.20 23 February 1895 Hamar
1500m 2:25.4 23 February 1895 Hamar
5000m 8:37.6 25 February 1894 Hamar
10000m 17:56.0 23 February 1895 Hamar

Source: speedskatingbase.eu[4]

World records

1500 m2:35.011 January 1893 Paterswolde
10,000 m19:12.410 February 1894 Neglingeviken
5000 m8:37.625 February 1894 Hamar
1500 m2:25.423 February 1895 Hamar
10,000 m17:56.023 February 1895 Hamar

Source: SpeedSkatingStats.com[5]

Jaap Eden Award

Since 1972 the Dutch Sportsman of the year receives the Jaap Eden Award. The statue is made by painter and sculptor Jits Bakker (born 1937) from Bilthoven and is based on Jaap Eden.[6]


1 These world championships were later declared official by the ISU, and Donoghue is now considered to be first official speed skating world champion.

2 Strunnikov's time was in an out-of-competition race and not officially recognised until 1967. In 1914, Oscar Mathisen was the first to break the record according to contemporary rules.


  1. Overdijkink, G. W. (12 November 2013). "Eden, Jacobus Johannes (1873-1925)". Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland (in Dutch). historici.nl. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  2. Moll, Maarten (1996). Jaap Eden, wereldkampioen op de schaats, wereldkampioen op de fiets. Amsterdam: Thomas Rap. ISBN 90-6005-356-7.
  3. Arnout Janmaat (7 March 2013). "120 jar bandygeschiedenis in Nederland" (PDF). Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  4. "Jaap Eden". speedskatingbase.eu. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  5. "Jaap Eden". SpeedSkatingStats.com. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  6. "Awards, Dé Jaap Eden" (in Dutch). NOC*NSF. Retrieved 24 October 2012.

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