Short Track Speed Skating
Short track speed skating is an exciting, adrenalin filled sport having its own heart-stopping moments. The origins of the short track speed skating can be traced back to Canada and the United States. This type of skating first came into the picture in 1905.
The first official competition took place in the year 1909. In the year 1967, short speed skating became an integral part of the ISU (International Skating Union). Competitions were started to be held internationally in the 1970’s. The ISU organized the first official international competition in 1976. The first World Championship of the short track speed skating was held in 1981 at Meudon-la-Foret in France.
As an event for demonstration, the skating was shown at the Calgary Winter Olympic Games in 1988. At Albertville Winter Games in 1992 it was upgraded a full medal status and it’s been an important part of the Games since then. From a 4-program event in 1992, it has grown to a 8-program one in 2002. Both men and women have same events i.e. 1500m, 1000m, 500m and relay 5000m for men and 3000m for women.
The short track speed skating ring is an oval 112.2 m in length. For the safety of the athletes, the ring has a borderless padding. No lanes are marked instead cones are used for marking it. Here time does not play an important role. The competition progresses with elimination. Depending on the individual heats, it begins with 32 athletes competing with each other four to six skaters at a time in a mass start.
The skating is done by the athletes in counter clockwise direction. The first two athletes to cross the finishing line moves forward to the next round of the event. The relay competition of the men and women short track is held over a period of two days. It contains semi-final and final event. From the eight teams a set of two groups each of four teams are chosen. Heats are then taken place. The two top teams of the semi-final event moves forward to the finals.
Equipment required for short track speed racing:
The hand of the skater is protected by the gloves from blades. These gloves are very important especially when the skater goes around the curves. To maintain balance the hand is kept on the ice hence gloves are very useful.
The requirement of the goggles is not necessary but it is worn by some skaters. It is used to safeguard their eyes from the ice chips and air current. The goggles are anti-glare and also it helps in the improvement of visibility.
Helmets which are made from hard plastics are used to protect the skaters from potential head injuries.
Customized foot moulds are used to construct the skates. It helps the skaters to stabilize their foot and ankle around the corner.
Skin tight suits
To reduce air resistance, short track speed skaters use skin tight suits.