Short track speed skating

2010-02-08 18:23 BJT

Short track speed skating is only about 100 years old and a product of North America. Speed skating, however, dates back to 13th century Holland.

Short track speed skating originated in Canada and the United States in 1905 with the first known competition having taken place in 1909. By the 1920s and 30s, the sport was gaining popularity in Great Britain, Japan, France, Belgium and Australia.

While short track speed skating became part of the International Skating Union (ISU) in 1967, it wasn’t until 1976 that official ISU competitions began.

In 1988, short track speed skating was a demonstration event at the Calgary Olympic Winter Games. Four years later, it was included as a full medal event at the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games.

How It Works

Short track speed skating takes place on a 111.12-metre oval track within a hockey rink. Tight corners make it difficult for skaters to maintain control. A boardless padding system is now used replacing the stand-alone board system. This ensure an increased safety for the athletes.

Short track speed skaters compete against each other, rather than the clock. The competition consists of a series of heats with four or six athletes. The first two athletes in each heat advance to the next round until only four skaters remain for the final.

The men’s and ladies’ short track relays take place over two days and consist of semi-final and final competitions. Eight teams of four skaters plus a substitute take part in the relay. The teams decide how many laps each of their members will race, with the understanding that the final two laps must be covered by the same skater. It is unusual for an individual athlete to exceed 1.5 laps, meaning there are some seven or eight relay exchanges per athlete. Instead of passing a baton, the skater on the ice needs to only tag the next skater to complete an exchange. In order to maintain momentum, however, it is more common for the next skater to crouch and receive a push from behind.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: