New ventilation creates tailwind!
Thialf Ice Stadium in Heerenveen hosted this year World Speed Skating Championship as well as the European championship. After some comments from the professionals and coaches, the University of technology in Delft was asked to look into the ventilation system as several new European and World records were set in the Ice Skating Rink followed by comments of a “tailwind”.
Some rumours even suggested that the new ventilation system was changed to encourage new records at the rink. The new ventilation system consist of 600 vents around the track to create a curtain of air between the stands and the ice to prevent moisture from affecting the ice. Normally, the vents are positioned to blow air straight up but in this case the direction had been changed to “plug some holes in the curtain”. Sven Kramer, one of Speed Skating greatest athletes, commented on the situation as he noticed “a stronger than usual wind from the vents”.
The tailwind observed by the researchers from the University was 500 meters per hours which is an extremely low value according to aerodynamics expert Alexander Spoelstra. It is also well within official limits . But as always with top sports, even the slightest help can be beneficial in the end when you are chasing seconds.
The researches have recommended the stadium management to investigate further.