Skating sensation Jordan Stolz (19) will be part of the Albert Heijn-Zaanlander team for the next three seasons. The American world champion in the 500, 1000 and 1500 meters hopes to become even better with the Jillert Anema team.
He was the sensation of the last distances of the World Championship. In early March, everyone in Thialf stared in awe at Jordan Stolz’s golden inside turn over 500 yards. Moreover, he won the world titles in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters and so the timid American teenager stormed to the world summit in seven-mile boots, as Eric Heiden had done almost half a century ago. early. “This guy can do anything,” said the defeated Kjeld Nuis with admiration for Stolz. “Where will this progression stop? the defeated Thomas Krol wondered aloud.
Three days after these world championships, Stolz spoke for the first time with Jillert Anema. At the Zilveren Bal in Leeuwarden, the skating show in Elfstedenhal, the brand new three-time world champion and the Frisian champion maker quickly came to the conclusion that a possible collaboration would result in a win-win situation.
“Jillert has been around for so long, guided so many champions, won Olympic medals. He’s a good guy, I like him. I think he and his team can help me very well,” says Stolz, who has signed a contract with Albert Heijn-Zaanlander until and including the 2026 Milan Games, by telephone from the United States.
Around Easter, Anema visited Stolz’s family in West Bend, Wisconsin to explain his plans. Anema was deeply impressed with his famous performance in Heerenveen, he said. But one of his concerns is that the sport of skating needs to be “very careful” with such growing talent. This message really pleased Stolz, who this week received the Norwegian Oscar Mathisen trophy.
“Jillert has so much training information, so much knowledge, a team full of great skaters and advice. That’s why I think it’s the right decision for me now,” Stolz said. For now, he will continue to train with his own trainer Bob Corby at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, with remote guidance from Anema and co. Several times a year he will also team up with the Dutch team with stars like Irene Schouten and Marijke Groenewoud.
“It’s still a bit early to give full details of what this will all look like, but I’m definitely looking at a collaboration. The team is full of strong skaters and I hope we can improve each other. So I will definitely go there several times. Maybe also to the summer ice cream in Heerenveen,” says Stolz, who discovered his beloved sport in a completely different way during the World Cup in the sold-out Thialf.
“That special atmosphere in Heerenveen certainly played a role in my decision, absolutely. There is only one country where you should be as a skateboarder, where there is a lot of knowledge and talent. I can’t think of no other country where I could improve a lot.
“Excellent timing and control”
He is not the first American to opt for cooperation with the Dutch. Chad Hedrick, his tutor Shani Davis, Heather Bergsma-Richardson; they all preceded Stolz. “It’s my own decision, but of course I consulted some people first,” admits Stolz. “They all told me it was the right thing to do now.”
“There is something for us, for him too,” explains coach Anema. He is sure that his skaters can learn a lot from Stolz. “For example, his excellent timing and control on his inside turn in the 500 meters, on the strongest skating number in the world. For the Dutchman, this is usually the most difficult distance to dominate, in which he can be very valuable to us”, believes Anema, who also sees a lot of things to improve in Stolz and talked to him about it for hours on the phone.
“His physical condition, for example, could be improved. But it’s also the whimsical part of youth, so don’t panic about it. Our first concern now is that he continues to skate as hard as he does now,” says Anema, who therefore allows Stolz to train largely in his own environment.
A potential all-rounder
“It doesn’t work like that: we’ll take over from here. No, that would be very arrogant. There is close contact and he connects at times. We will see where he can take advantage of our training camps and then he will come. At summer camps, for example, at good weather in winter, at summer ice cream in Thialf. We already have plans, but everything is still very new.
Nevertheless, the belief in Stolz’s potential is enormous. “He has fast fibers, but also knows how to run the 1,000 and 1,500 meters. If you can do that, then 5 solid miles should also work. It’s still not optimal. His long distances are not yet at the level of his other distances,” says Anema. The coach sees in the American the potential for a versatile future. Stolz also spoke fondly of this non-Olympic discipline in Heerenveen. “First comes realization and faith, so apparently he already has that,” Anema says.
The American himself also sees it as a challenge to be strong at all distances, but he is well aware that his general fitness still needs to improve enormously. “Because let’s be honest: if I want to do the eventing now, I have to win it with my 500 meters and it’s not easy. In terms of endurance, I’m not extremely good, so a 10,000 will be very difficult,” says Stolz. “Controlling all the distances, it would be crazy if I could handle that.”
“A very special case”
There is a complex factor related to Stolz’s contract with the Dutch commercial team. From the 2024/2025 season, foreigners are no longer welcome in the Dutch teams and at the special top sports hours in Thialf with regard to the KNSB. “I had a bit of that discussion, yes,” replies Stolz, who isn’t discouraged by it, however. “We just have to try to get around that a bit. The fact that we all make each other better is also part of a collaboration, I think.
Coach Anema, who has often worked with foreigners, firmly believes Dutch talent will also benefit from the collaboration. “And if I see that already, then I reckon the KNSB will also see that themselves. This is a very special case, so I think we’ll sort it out in good consultation.
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