Lasma Kauniste & Inzell

Over breakfast yesterday morning in Inzell, Boris overhears a couple at the next table speaking Russian, so he says hello, it turns out to be Latvian Lasma Kauniste, the 1969 women’s world champion. She is here to skate the masters races. Boris says she was “a superstar like Michael Jackson” in the old Soviet Union. He was very happy to chat with a speedskating & cultural hero from his childhood.

You might think, with some of my stories, that I am moving in some exotic realm inhabited by superstars. Nothing could be farther from the truth; in this small sport there is basically no distance between Olympians and run-of-the-mill skaters. It’s also not a sport where the elite make insane amounts of money, so top speedskaters still live “normal” lives, and don’t get the superstar syndrome of entourages, bodyguards, and being forever unable to eat dinner quietly in a restaurant (maybe Lasma was different 45 years ago, but today it’s a small sport). Lasma actually remembered me from when I raced here 2 years ago, that was my ego boost for the day, another thing to deposit into the Egobank.

It’s nice to be back in Inzell. Travel is usually the moment of the constant new. Especially traveling in a foreign country where there is constant overwhelming mouthfuls of new. On the bus here, through unfamiliar Austrian countryside, suddenly Boris and I pass into Germany, see the town of “Hammer” and I suddenly recognize landmarks.

I know where the rink is, where the bus stop is, where the grocery store is, and when we went to dinner at the “Planet-ice” bistro and bar attached to the rink, the waitress was the same Teutonic blond as 2 years ago.

I still couldn’t read anything on the menu, as it was completely in German, but it’s nice to be back in Inzell. I have some good memories of this town, and hope to make a few more before I leave.

I am blogging you from a dark hallway next to the bathrooms at a ciao-agrip gas station the only wireless hotspot I could find in all of Inzell (pronounced INT-ZIL).

I race in 2 hours, its warm, wet, and raining outside, turning this snowy winter wonderland into a huge Bavarian slushy.

3 Responses to “Lasma Kauniste & Inzell”

  1. Interestingly I have met 3 long track Olympic gold medallists the last two years and I had a guy with two world records staying at my place the other day. It’s a small world with nice people and it does tickle me pink. :-)

    BTW, no more natural ice skating here for a while, we have had 30-40 cm of snow in two days here in Oslo. Hopefully the fjord will freeze now!

  2. Saw your first day times on the Eisstadion website. Way to go Andrew! I’ll leave it to you to tell your readers all the details.

    As this is the last stop (I believe) of your 2006 European IMSSC racing circuit, and only when it’s all over - go re-hydrate with a weisbier and apple strudel at Planet Ice. The perfect way to end a weekend of racing.

  3. Hi hon,

    Is her name Lasma or Lasama? You use both. Love you! J

    (NOTE FROM ANDREW: thanks jessie, its Lasma, I corrected in in the post)

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