This article is about ice speed skating. Two types of speed skating are long track speed skating and short track speed skating.

Speed Skating today is a lifetime fitness sport for individuals of all ages. Speed Skating provides both cardiovascular and aerobic benefits as well as improving muscle strength, balance, and coordination. Today, the sport can be enjoyed year round with indoor skating facilities found throughout the world. Probably the best type of Speed Skating is that which is done outdoors, challenging the skater against the elements of nature that try to test the skater’s skill, fatigue and desire to race the wind. As a recreational and competition sport, Ice Speed Skating offers the potential for social integration for both training and competition experiences within multi-level Special Olympics competition experiences as well as training and competition experiences through this sport’s National Governing Body.

These two basic forms are called long track or speed skating and short track speed skating, respectively. Speed skating requires an excellent ice skating ability, physical strength and endurance, as well as mental fortitude and the brain smarts to beat the competition.

speed skating rules

speed skating rules

Short Track Speed Skating Rules

A race is divided into heats, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. The only way to advance to the next round is by process of elimination where the top two skaters are the winners. The track must be skated counterclockwise. The official starter fires a pistol in the air to declare the start. The skaters are allowed one false start before they would be disqualified. A bell is rung on the last lap to alert the skaters.

Violations

Short track skating involves high skating speeds in a small circular track. Infractions that violate the rules, some by chance and some intentional, can occur. One such infraction is impeding. This means a skater can put himself/herself in another skater’s way to slow the skater down or hamper their progress. Throwing a hand out, slowing down in a lane suddenly, tripping or pushing or touching are impeding acts. If one skater bumps into another, especially at a crucial time of strategy and the bumped skater lost his/her position, then the skater who bumped is disqualified (DQ) and the other advances to the next round. Even a slight touch can be viewed as an impeding act, as the touched skater can be thrown off balance. The skating referee decides whether a noted incident of touching is accidental or on purpose. If on purpose, the offending skater can be DQed.

Two infractions involving track etiquette, are:

  • Cross Tracking – a skater from one skating lane cuts off another skater while changing his or her lane. This would force the other skater to break suddenly or fall down.
  • Off-Track – A skater must always take a turn on the outside part of his or her track because when they turn on the inside part of the track it is called an off-track infraction.
Long Track Speed Skating

Long Track Speed Skating

Long Track Speed Skating Rules

In this form of speed skating there is 2 skaters against each other in a timed race for a certain distance. Standard distances are 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m (women only), 5000m, and 10,000m (men only). Racing formats include sprints, team pursuit, single and marathon. The track is 400m long and oval shaped. There are three lanes, an outer, inner, and a warm up lane.

Lane Rules: The inner lane is shorter in length as compared to the outer lane. So in any long track race, the skaters must change their lanes once, during each lap around the rink, to ensure the same distance is covered by each competitor. Lanes can be changed only at the crossing straight point and the skater in the outer lane has the right-of-way, if he/she reaches the crossover point first. Cones are placed along the corners to constrict the turns. In this form of speed skating, the skaters must race in pairs and must skate along the rink in a counter clockwise manner.

Violations (Same as above)

  • Cross Tracking – a skater from one skating lane cuts off another skater while changing his or her lane. This would force the other skater to break suddenly or fall down.
  • Off-Track – A skater must always take a turn on the outside part of his or her track because when they turn on the inside part of the track it is called an off-track infraction.