Speedskating: Rules of the Game

Speedskating: Rules of the Game

Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 8, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Min Cheol Kim (KOR) during the men's 5000m against Shane Williamson (JPN) during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Adler Arena Skating Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports


by USA Today Sports Media Group


Posted on February 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 10 at 8:47 PM

Speedskating races range from 500 to 10,000 meters

Long track speedskating:

  • the track is a quarter mile long and you could fit two hockey rinks inside it.
  • It has two racing lanes.
  • Skaters change each lap with the outside skater having the right of way.
  • A skaters racing suit must conform to their body.

Short track speedskating:

  • Think NASCAR on ice.
  • Track is 121 yards around and it fits inside a hockey rink.
  • 5-6 skaters compete at once.

Because blades are so sharp all skaters have to wear cut-resistant uniforms

A skater is disqualified if:

  • Two false starts
  • Cut off a competitor
  • Use the wall for balance

The biggest difference in the discipline is the type of skate blade used:

  • Long track skaters use a clap skate.The advantage of this skate is the blade briefly disconnects from the boot allowing the blade to stay on the ice longer and that increases the skater’s power
  • Short track skaters do not have a blade that releases at the heel instead skaters can adjust the curve of the blade to help them in their turns

And that’s your look at the Rules of the Game