Jaap Havekotte Jr. - Director of Viking Skating Factory Ltd
How long did you have to think about the Kia Speed Skating Academy before supporting it?
"One second, I guess. It's a great initiative. Look, I come from the era that the Australian, Colin Coates, was all by himself and competing against the Norwegians and the Dutch, who travelled by plane, had doctors and physio's at their fingertips. These differences should be banned."Marnix is completely committed to doing this and thereby taking great personal risks. In the past some people grumbled that it was for personal gain, but then you certainly would not take such a risk. If it were to fail he would be the scapegoat. I see him as an idealist. First the sponsorship of totally unknown skaters from different foreign countries, after that the double-deck touring car and now the Kia Speed Skating Academy. You do not put this type of effort into something just for personal gain, there are many other and easier ways to do that."
What is the meaning of the Academy?
"That is huge, especially at this moment when the speeding in a crisis seems attainable. Something has to happen to blow new life into skating. The sport has become very commercial. Good for a small group of skaters in the Netherlands, but bad for international standing. The ISU should really take action, because the Americans and Canadians complain that long distances are similar to watching the grass growing."We as Viking have a healthy interest in skating - we live from it. Every year we produce between 60,000 and 80,000 skates and they must be sold. This is why we gladly want to donate a door. Even without a sponsor door, we still would have participated! "
You have been many years in Inzell. What is the importance of that village?
"It's a fantastic place, especially if the weather is nice. But if the weather is bad, you certainly don't go to an outdoor ice rink. With the trend for indoor rinks, Inzell is slowly being forgotten. The roof will bring a new golden age with it, because skating and Inzell are interwoven. "