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Sports

Short Track Speed Skating

Dajing Wu, wearing a black and red speed skater uniform, lunges forward with three other skaters trailing him.
Dajing Wu of China skates on his way to winning gold ahead of Daeheon Hwang of Korea and Hyojun Lim of Korea in the men's 500m short track speed skating final at PyeongChang 2018. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

What's it all about?

Have you ever played a racing game where the track was packed with quick twists and turns? Forcing you to speed up or stop on a dime so you don’t lose control of your little pixel car? Now imagine the same thing on ice skates. That, friends, is short track speed skating.

How it's played

Things to watch for

Keita Watanabe of Japan competes during the men's 500m short track speed skating quarter final at PyeongChang 2018. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Keita Watanabe of Japan competes during the men's 500m short track speed skating quarter final at PyeongChang 2018. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The needs for speed

  • The blades on a short track speed skating skate are off centre, to the left.
  • That’s so that the boot doesn't touch the ice when skaters lean in on the curves.
  • They also have gloves with hard fingertips to help them glide on the ice during turns.
Italy's Martina Valcepina (L) is pushed on by Italy's Arianna Fontana during the hand over in the women's 3,000m relay short track speed skating A final event at Pyeongchang 2018. (Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images)
Italy's Martina Valcepina (L) is pushed on by Italy's Arianna Fontana during the hand over in the women's 3,000m relay short track speed skating A final event at Pyeongchang 2018. (Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images)

Push don't pass

  • In the relay, teams have four skaters each and there are four teams on the ice at a time.
  • Rather than pass a baton, teammates push the next skater to give them a speed boost.
  • If a skater falls, a teammate can tag them and take over their part of the race.
Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands leads during the short track speed skating - ladies' 1,000m final during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands leads during the short track speed skating - ladies' 1,000m final during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Mix it up!

  • The new 2000m mixed team relay event will premiere at Beijing 2022.
  • Teams of two women and two men will each race two and a half laps, twice.
  • If a skater wipes out, only a teammate of the same gender can tag in to continue.
Action packed facts.
  • Short track speed skating became an official Olympic event at the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992.

  • Some skaters believe that the colour blue makes them faster than other colours. But some believe the color red makes you faster. You’ll notice many of the suits the athletes wear have at least one of these colours.

  • Sometimes a skater will leap out of the starting area before the starting shot is fired. This is a false start, and if the skater does it again, they get disqualified from the race.

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