Our special infrastructure
At the beginning, our Kriterium took place on a small triangular course on the market square for three times, then the new "rectangular" street course in today's Skate-Park was finished. This course is an important part of the attraction of the Kriterium because it is very fast, tolerates huge numbers of skaters and is very popular among our participants. Our track is simply different from other, oval tracks and also different from "real" street courses. Being different is also shown by the fact that it is still discussed until today whether it is a "track" or a "road". We don’t care!
By adding a 200m track, our popular Sprint Cup was able to get the Kriterium a new attraction, create "world-wide comparisons" among the participants and become a part of the European Cup, a ranking that emerged much later.
Our special performers
In 1991, Anne Titze won the first German Women's World Title (race for 1.500 m). Today, with Laethisia Schimek and Simon Albrecht, we have two current world champions in our team again. World-class athletes from Gross-Gerau, who are continuously part of the German national team, represent a challenge for all the other athletes around the world, and so we have been able to draw many other successful athletes and national teams to the Kriterium. Besides our successful speedskaters, also trainers and officials contributed significantly to the development. For decades, coaches of “Blau-Gelb” were responsible in federal and regional teams. Even at the level of associations, officials from Gross-Gerau have consistently faced the challenges of developing our sport since the 1980s.
Our special competition ideas
After we had already offered 300m time-trials as training runs before the Kriterium, we introduced the first time Sprint Cup with time-trials in Germany in 2003. This provided an additional attraction – especially for the sprinting specialists. The expanding number of participants also ensured a further novation: the division into A-, B- and C-runs, with ascending and descending regulations during the competition. In addition, we broke a taboo for the first time in the German competition with the expansion of the competition program to Friday evening as well as with the waiving of skater classifications for senior skaters. However, the fact that “Schüler” categories are an integral part of our program, is thankfully appreciated by huge registration numbers from the associations. It confirms our concept and makes us proud that some of these ideas have been adopted elsewhere in competitions!
Our special jury
Shortly after starting her new career as a judge, Dr. Barbara Fischer was full of enthusiasm for our Kriterium. In 1995, being chief referee in Gross-Gerau for the first time, she always played an important role in the management of our competition and Gross-Gerau became a "matter of the heart" for her. With her passing away too early, we are especially grateful to her and will keep her in our memories. Her enthusiasm and the importance of the Kriterium Gross-Gerau have drawn many other international judges. Basically all European speedskating nations were represented in our judging team, making it as international as nearly nowhere else in the world.
And also the judges triggered innovation: the "meeting point" system has already been a part of French competitions, but we have perfected it in the form of a “guided start-up” and other organizational measures. This system has also been adopted at other major events now.
The special meeting point of the speedskating scene in the world
The Gross-Gerau Speedskating Kriterium is THE great meeting platform for all speedskaters and a true "performance determination for the season". Despite the multitude of participants, all athletes, as well as the entire team, are feeling like a great family. Many long-lasting friendships have emerged across countries. For more than 39 years, the Kriterium is an example for the successful integration and cooperation of different countries.
Everybody values the special atmosphere with the compactness of track, skaters, spectators, catering area, skate fair and camping park.
Our special support
Being reflective, one thing is clear for us:
our Kriterium has been a historic and the most successful event in the speedskating world for almost 40 years, and we owe this to EVERYBODY INVOLVED.
First of all,
- to each and everyone of our association, who, in the community, spend countless, voluntary hours for our Kriterium and the Speedskating park
- to our city and all departments who support and promote us and show us that they back our Kriterium
- to our sponsors, without whom such energy and investment would not be possible
- to our numerous exhibitors, which turn our Kriterium into a speedskating market place each year and also support us through their booth
- and, of course, to all the athletes from countries all over the world, who have made the Kriterium one of today’s top speedskating events through their unique performance.
We say THANK YOU and promise: the show will go on ... So don’t miss the Kriterium in 2018 (April 27-29, 2018), which will be a unique version of our classic - whether for skaters, ex-skaters, supervisors, sponsors or friends of our wonderful sport!