Canadian long-track speedskating team hires Dutch advisor Kuiper

Canada's Samuel Girard. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

CALGARY — Dutch speedskating coach Geert Kuiper has joined Canada’s long-track team as a technical coach advisor.

Kuiper coached team pursuit squads and mass start skaters in The Netherlands, the dominant country in long-track speedskating, from 2014 to 2018.

The Dutch won women’s silver and men’s bronze in team pursuit and a pair of mass start bronze in February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Kuiper has also worked with Olympic champions Sven Kramer, Irene Wust and Gerard van Velde during his career.

The 58-year-old from Wolvega has been contracted by Speed Skating Canada to work under long-track high performance director Cara Thibault and with national team coaches "with the goal of leading Canada to podium performances in international competition," Speed Skating Canada said Friday in a statement.

Canada totalled two long-track medals in Pyeongchang with Dutch-born Ted-Jan Bloemen winning 10,000-metre gold and 5,000-metre silver.

The national long-track team trains at the Olympic Oval in Calgary.

"There is a strong foundation for high performance sport in Canada and I think this is the right place for me and the right time to share my experience with an enthusiastic and talented group of skaters and coaches," Kuiper said.

"I have been to Canada several times and was attracted by its beautiful landscapes and its people."

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