Jasper Ruppert
Jasper Ruppert

Pechstein in the run-up to the world cup: First the trade fair, then to the ice

Two weeks ahead of the speed skating world cup, Claudia Pechstein will be attending ISPO MUNICH. Speaking at her sponsor’s booth, Rockwell, the most successful German winter sports Olympian of all time will cover helmets and the athletic and legal challenges she has faced – while seemingly totally relaxed in the process.

Claudia Pechstein
Pechstein: “I do not get on a bike without a helmet”

With the product in hand, a thumbs up: Claudia Pechstein’s detour to ISPO MUNICH before going directly back to Berlin is a true testament to helmet manufacturers Rockwell. Her training awaits and the world championships in the Russian city of Kolomna are fast approaching.

60 speed skating medals won

“ISPO MUNICH is doesn’t really fit into my training schedule, but it makes for a nice change of pace,” says Pechstein. Pechstein proved she was still on top of her game in mid-January when she won the German championship title in speed skating for the tenth time. It marked her 60th medal won in championships and Olympic games. And that at the biblical age – at least in the world of sports – of 43.

Now, two weeks ahead of the speed skating world championships in Kolomna, Pechstein appears confident in spite of her younger competition. “I want to put up a real fight for these medals, even if I don’t consider myself the favorite,” says the Berlin native. “Winning a bronze would be realistic.”

Sponsored by helmet manufacturer Rockwell

Pechstein has recently found support in helmet manufacturer Rockwell. The Düsseldorf-based start up has developed a modular helmet design. The design and colors can be customized individually. Multiple inlays mean the helmet is suitable for a variety of different activities, be they winter or water sports, inline skating or cycling.

The Rockwell models consist of three parts: an under layer made of EPS foam, a textile-based soft shell and a flexible outer layer. “A helmet for everything, but it still looks cool – I loved that,” says Pechstein, praising her new sponsor’s product. “I do a lot of bike riding in the summer and don’t go a single meter without a helmet on.”

Legal dispute with the International Skating Union

But before she gets back on her bike, her focus is on winter sports – and the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe. It is there that it will be decided on March 8 whether the Court of Justice will uphold the decision of Munich’s Higher Regional Court.

It was there that a judgment was handed down in January, 2015 that Pechstein considers to be “sporting history”: It declared that Pechstein’s suit against the International Skating Union (ISU) could be heard before a German court. This marked the first judgment in which an athlete was not forced to appear before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a legal dispute with an athletic association.

In 2009, the ISU issued Pechstein with a two-year ban for a doping offense. But the Berliner was able to prove that the blood result in question was attributable to an inherited anomaly. Since then, she has been considered to have redeemed herself in Germany.

The Court of Justice will decide whether the ISU will have to pay damages. In her initial suit, Pechstein requested 4.4 million euros in compensation from the ILU.

Jasper Ruppert
Jasper Ruppert
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Jasper Ruppert
Jasper Ruppert

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