What is Speed Skating?

I’ve been a fan of skating since I was 5 years old; the passion for loving this magnificent sport is hereditary – namely, my dad has always been a huge fan of it and he transferred the same passion for skating to me, and I did the same to my children. By now, if you’ve been reading my blog, you will have found out that I love all sorts of skating sports – be it figure skating, ice dancing, speed skating etc. Since I’ve already talked about the first two, I wanted to mention speed skating on my blog as well – reason being that I don’t see many articles about it online, which, if you ask me, is a shame.

Those of you who are avid followers of winter Olympics, I assume you are familiar with speed skating, and I hope that this article just reminds you how good of a sport speed skating is. To those of you who haven’t heard of it, I hope this article expands your knowledge and sparks an interest in this special sport.

So, what is speed skating?

Speed skating is a very competitive form of ice skating, in which two players race one another on a track with two lanes. When skaters begin the race, each of them is allocated their course which they cannot change – and the winner is, as in every race, the one who gets to the finish line first.

Vaishampayanprashant, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How does it work?

Depending on the distance, there are three types of speed skating.

1) Long-track speed skating – The distance in long-track speed skating is around 400m; Two players race at the same time, running counter-clockwise! This type of speed skating is interesting because skaters are allowed to change lanes. There are some forms of speed skating that allow three to four players to skate at the same time, and if one of the teammates has issues with skating, they are allowed to stop and the team will not be disqualified. Interesting, isn’t it? The winner, as in every speed skating game, is the team that finishes the race the fastest.

2) Short-track speed skating – The distance in short-track speed skating is 111m and it, similarly to long-track speed skating, is run counter-clockwise. The difference between short-track speed skating and long-track speed skating is that short-track speed skating allows for six skaters to be on the track at the same time! Again, the winner is determined by their speed – the fastest one to finish the course is the winner.

3) Marathon-speed skating – The distance can vary from ice rink to ice rink, but generally, it is around 40km! Marathon-speed skating allows for many players to be on the track at the same time.