The 22-year-old Canadian Graeme Fish wrote history on Friday by winning distances in a world record gold in the 10 kilometers at the World Championship. With the help of his teammate and former world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen.
Halfway through his lap of honor, the first non-Dutch 10-kilometer world champion falls into the arms of a group of Canadians, all with a red cap in the shape of a fish on their heads.
“My mother made it,” Graeme Fish laughs moments later in the catacombs of the Utah Olympic Oval, pointing to his own hat. “She wanted something for last week’s World Cup in Calgary that made my family stand out among all those Dutch fans. And to be honest, they are pretty cool“
The Fish family, from Moose Jaw in the Canadian state of Saskatchewan, certainly stood out in Salt Lake City on Friday. Thursday they already had a nice party after the bronze medal of Graeme on the 5 kilometers and that was doubled the next day after the world title on the 10 kilometers.
“My family has supported me all my life,” says Graeme Fish. “That they were there today while I won gold in a world record is incredibly special. What a great day, I can’t believe it.”
Coach Schouten: “Fish is married with skating”
Fish can also thank his family for his talent for the long distances. “I spoke to his parents last week and they said they are people who can just keep going,” said Bart Schouten. “Graeme is simply built as an endurance athlete.”
The national coach of the Canadian men calls Fish a “super talent”. “It is so beautiful to work with that boy. He is a sponge, he sucks up everything you tell him. And he is crazy about skating, calling himself married to the sport. He is the natural successor to Ted-Jan Bloemen “
It was Olympic champion Bloemen who lost his world record on Friday (12.33.86 at 12.36.30) and had to settle for silver behind Fish, but no one was happier for the new world champion than his teammate.
“I am very proud of Graeme,” says Bloemen. “We do a lot for each other and he is a really good friend. Without him I could not have become a world champion in the 5 kilometers on Thursday. He is a hard worker, who motivates me every day in the training sessions. I lost my world record, but who can say that he has trained his successor? “
“I would not have been here without Flowers”
Fish, in turn, still can’t believe he can train every day with the Olympic champion in the 10 kilometers. “Ted-Jan has always supported me, I would not have been here today without him.”
“Of course we try to beat each other, but it was typical that during my 10 kilometers Ted-Jan was the one who whipped up the crowd when I still had to do six laps. That makes our team special: we are always cheering for each other. I was still would have been super happy if Ted-Jan had come under my time. “
Flowers made an attempt to regain his world record in the final stage, but he finally gave in for more than 11 seconds (12.45.01). On Sunday, on the final day of the World Championship distances, Fish will therefore have its place on the world record board at the Utah Olympic Oval.
“I told Graeme that he should follow my example and literally break my sign”, Bloemen smiles, referring to the fact that at the end of 2017 he broke the sign of Sven Kramer in thousands of pieces after he had set a world record in the 5 kilometer mark. “I hope he does it.”