Kapiti’s World Champion: Peter Michael

He ran the perfect race. He stayed out of trouble and had the speed to bring it home. New Zealand Skating Coach, Bill Begg

World’s best four years in a row — but no official funding!

By Roger Childs

Inline skating 2012Local inline speed skater, Peter Michael has once again won the 15,000m title!

In Rosario, Argentina, he beat a strong field with a withering burst in the final straight.

Michael, who is also a handy cyclist, joins an elite bunch of New Zealand athletes to win a world crown four years running.

But, unlike many top athletes, he gets absolutely no official help.He has also held the world record twice and was champion at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia. In that race, the 24 year old covered the distance in 22 minutes 16 seconds at an average speed of 40.4 km/h!

Peter Michael is also ‘Kapiti Sportsman and Sportsperson of the Year for 2014.’

How about some funding?

But in spite of all this, he gets no, repeat no, official funding.

Michael is a victim of the Sport New Zealand funding model. Despite being a four-times world champion, he receives no money whatsoever. Coach, Bill Begg

It is an amazing state of affairs when you are on top of the world. Peter Michael would get funding if he shifted across to the Olympic sport of ice skating. From a financial perspective it would make sense; and Begg is resigned to the possibility that his top performer might not be seeking a fifth 15,000m elimination title in 2015.

A process of elimination

Inline sjkatingThe 15,000m skating event takes place over 75 laps on a tight 200m circuit and demands a highly tactical approach. Competitors must avoid

~ being lapped, because that means elimination

~ getting caught up in a crash.

(At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics 1000m final, the slowest qualifier from Australia, Steven Bradbury, won gold because all the other finalists crashed out)

Beating the best

It was definitely hard, with the heat and the strong teams. Peter Michael

Inline skating Peter MichaelIn the Rosario final with 40 starters, Michael kept near the front but out of trouble. The process of elimination left just five skaters still in the competition, with three laps to go.

The men to beat were Alexis Contin and Ewen Fernandez from France, and they controlled the race until the last 300m.

At this point, Contin made his bid for victory with Michael in hot pursuit. However, on the final bend with just 40m to go, the Kiwi made his move and narrowly edged out the Frenchman on the line.

Michael was humble about what he had achieved. It is an unbelievable sensation. There are too many people to thank, my friends and family, the list can go on and on, but they know who they are.