Local speedskater sets eyes on Olympic team

Taylor Allen, BEAT REPORTER 

Tyson Langelaar (right) earned four medals at the World Junior Long Track Championships in Finland including a bronze in the all around for total points accumulated. SUPPLIED/ Manitoba Speed Skating Association

After seeing highlights of Winnipeg speed skating legend Cindy Klassen on TV, a 6-year-old Tyson Langelaar knew he wanted to try the sport himself.

“I always enjoyed skating,” Langelaar said in an interview with RRCTV. “So I thought, ‘why not try it?’”

Fast-forward 11 years and Langelaar has a gold medal at the Canada Winter Games and four medals at the World Junior Long Track Championships.

The World Junior Long Track Championships were this past February in Finland. Langelaar won silver in the team sprint competition and bronze medals in the 1000 metre, 1500 metre, and in the overall standings.

Langelaar says a big reason for his success at the worlds was his coach, Tyler Derraugh. Derraugh was a member of the Canadian men’s national team from 2010 to 2015. He competed in 19 World Cups in his career.

“He’s been leading me into the whole speed skating Canada environment,” said Langelaar. “He’s helped a lot with my skating technique and confidence for sure.”

Langelaar’s final competition of the year is the Olympic Oval Finale. The competition features skaters from Canada and all over Europe. But it’s extra important for Canadian skaters as it can lead to a spot on either the Canadian development or national team.

“I just want to skate as fast as I can to finish the year on a good note,” said Langelaar. “I want to finish the year on a good note and try to get some personal bests.”

Next year Langelaar plans to go to school at the University of Calgary and train at the Olympic Oval. The Oval is known as “The Fastest Ice in the World.” Over 260 long track and 30 short track records have been broken there.

It’s the speed that thrills Langelaar. He loves the feeling of going around the corners as fast as he can, he said. One day, he hopes to do so on the biggest stage.

“Long term dream is obviously to go to the Olympics and represent your country. But I still have one more year of juniors, so next year’s Olympics, I’ll skate and try to make the team so if I don’t make it I won’t be crushed. “

Langelaar’s four world medals put him on pace with Canadian speed skater greats. Many of those with World Junior medals have gone on to medal at the Olympics.