“Basic military training as a conscript soldier at the Army Ranger Battalion is the hardest thing I have ever done. I love my comrades and I am so very grateful to my superiors. Every day I miss my backpack, the camaraderie and the job”, says Nils van der Poel.
Nils van der Poel conducted his basic military training in 2018-19 as part of a two-year hiatus from competitions. His intention was to make a spectacular comeback at the 2021 World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen in Holland.
“Some said my plan was foolish, and my decision raised some eyebrows, but to me it felt logical and smart”, says Nils van der Poel in an interview with Swedish public broadcaster SVT.
Nils van der Poel, 24, is the first Swede to seal a gold in the classical sport since 1976. In 2014 and 2015, he won gold in the 5000m at the Junior World Championships. In the Olympic Games in South Korea in 2018, he came in 14th place.
Now, the future looks bright for this Swedish skate star.