Adrianus "Ard" Schenk (born 16 September 1944) is a former speed skater from the Netherlands, who is considered to be one of the best in history. His first Olympic success came in 1968, when he won a silver medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics. Between 1970 and 1972 Winter Olympics, Schenk won three consecutive World Allround Speed Skating Championships. He won three gold medals at the 1972 Winter Olympics, becoming, along with Galina Kulakova of Soviet Union, the most successful athlete there.
Schenk competed in international meets from 1964 on, winning his first medal at the 1965 world championships and his first gold medal at the 1966 European championships. In the late 60s, Schenk was usually bested by his compatriot Kees Verkerk, but in the early 1970s he dominated international speed skating. The winning duo of Ard & Keesie were responsible for a lasting popularity of speed skating in the Netherlands.
Schenk's career peaked in 1972. He won three gold medals during the Olympic Games in Sapporo (a fall on the 500 m precluded gold in all 4 distances). Had the 1000 meters already been an Olympic distance, Schenk would have been the favorite for gold, as he had won five of the six 1000 meter races at World Sprint Championship he participated in. The same year, he also won the European Allround and the World Allround Championships. He became World Allround Champion by winning all 4 distances, a feat that nobody had achieved since Ivar Ballangrud 40 years earlier, and which only Eric Heiden has repeated since (in 1979). Finally, he won bronze that year at the World Sprint Championships.
The next season (1973), he turned professional with a number of other prominent speed skaters, thereby foregoing the opportunity of winning more championships. The professional circuit lasted two seasons and Schenk retired from speed skating at the relatively young age of 30.
|Championships||Gold medal||Silver medal||Bronze medal|
|World Allround Championships||3||2||2|
|World Sprint Championships||0||0||2|
Schenk was the first to skate the 10,000 meters within 15 minutes, and the first skater to finish the 1500 meters in less than 2 minutes. Over the course of his career he broke a total of 18 (senior) world records, a feat no skater before or after him has bettered. Among men, the sprint specialist Jeremy Wotherspoon came closest with his 16th world record in 2007, while among women long-distance specialist Gunda Niemann equalled Schenk's mark in 2001. By March 1971, Schenk held 6 of the 7 official world records at the same time, missing only the 500 m. His 1000 m record was broken in March 1972 by Erhard Keller, but the other five stood until 1975 to 1978, when world records started to be skated at the high-altitude rink of Medeo.
|1500 m||2:06.2||26 January 1966||Davos|
|3000 m||4:26.2||29 January 1966||Inzell|
|1500 m||2:05.3||30 January 1966||Inzell|
|3000 m||4:18.4||25 February 1967||Inzell|
|1000 m||1:20.6||28 February 1967||Inzell|
|1000 m||1:20.6||5 February 1968||Davos|
|3000 m||4:12.6||15 January 1971||Davos|
|1500 m||1:58.7||16 January 1971||Davos|
|Big combination||171.317||31 January 1971||Oslo|
|10000 m||15:01.6||14 February 1971||Gothenburg|
|Big combination||171.130||14 February 1971||Gothenburg|
|1000 m||1:18.8||20 February 1971||Inzell|
|5000 m||7:12.0||13 March 1971||Inzell|
|10000 m||14:55.9||14 March 1971||Inzell|
|Big combination||168.248||14 March 1971||Inzell|
|3000 m||4:08.3||2 March 1972||Inzell|
|5000 m||7:09.8||4 March 1972||Inzell|
|Big combination||167.420||5 March 1972||Inzell|
To put these personal records in perspective, the column WR lists the official world records on the dates that Schenk skated his personal records, and, since the world records he broke were often his own, the column AE lists the best times skated by anyone else up to those dates.
|500 m||38.9||15 January 1971||Davos||38.46||38.46|
|1000 m||1:18.8||20 February 1971||Inzell||1:19.2||1:19.2|
|1500 m||1:58.7||16 January 1971||Davos||2:01.9||2:01.9|
|3000 m||4:08.3||2 March 1972||Inzell||4:12.6||4:15.7|
|5000 m||7:09.8||4 March 1972||Inzell||7:12.0||7.13.2|
|10000 m||14:55.9||14 March 1971||Inzell||15:01.6||15:03.6|
|Big combination||167.420||5 March 1972||Inzell||168.248||170.648|
Schenk has an Adelskalender score of 166.241 points. He was number one on the Adelskalender from 13 January 1966 until 27 February 1967 and again from 13 February 1971 until 19 March 1976 for a total of 6 years and 58 days. The Adelskalender is an all-time allround speed skating ranking.
Schenk (Oslo, 1967)
Schenk (Grenoble, 1968)
Schenk (Oslo, 1972)