Speed skating: official game rules briefly
Speed skating is a sports discipline that is included in the mandatory program of the Winter Olympics (OI). The goal of speed skating on ice is to quickly overcome the established distance in a vicious circle. Today, speed skating can be classic or in the form of a short track. Each type of discipline has its own requirements and nuances.
In order to learn how to understand speed skating and to successfully bet on relevant competitions in the future, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with their rules and the main “pitfalls” in detail.
Speed skating at the Olympic Games
Men entered the winter Olympic program for speed skating on ice since 1924. Women have been admitted to similar competitions since 1960. Initially, the men’s championship was held at distances of 500, 1500, 5000 and 10 000 meters, as well as in the all-around. However, the 10 km competition did not prove itself, after which it was decided to exclude this distance from the Olympic program.
For a long time, skating competitions were held at 500, 1500 and 5000 meters, but in the end, the Olympic Committee decided to divide the discipline into two programs: short distances and long ones. Today, athletes run 500, 1000 and 1,500 m in the short program, and 3, 5 and 10 km in the long program. At each distance from one team, 3 participants have the right to speak, but at the same time only couples can take part in the race. Also, speed skating is not included in the modern Olympic all-around program.
In 1967, short-track competitions were first organized under the auspices of the ISU. They entered the Olympic program only in 1992. Currently, this discipline is equivalent to other types of speed skating, although it is considered by many to be its separate branch.
Qualification for the Olympics
There is no well-defined quota for participants in Olympic speed skating competitions. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) determines the maximum number of possible applications before each Olympiad. Thus, there is a certain quota for men and for women.
If as a result of qualification selection the number of participants of one gender is less than the allowable quota, then the remaining places are added to the quota of the opposite sex. Each country has its own quota, for example, up to 10 women and up to 10 men. If according to the results of the preliminary round of women, only 8 qualified for the Olympics, then 12 places will be vacant for men.
Moreover, there are specific restrictions on the limit of participants in each type of competition. For example, the greatest number of skaters from one country is allowed at short distances (up to 1,500 m) and in team pursuit races. Traditionally, 3 places are open for women at long distances of 3 and 5 km, as for men at 5 and 10 km.
The qualification system for the Olympic Games is based on the following principles:
- Distribution of competitive quotas for countries. Only the participants in the World Speed Skating Cup can count on being lucky in the Olympics. Seat allocation is based on the places occupied by the tournament participants during the season.
- Implementation of qualification standards. Skaters are required to meet certain standards by July 1 of the year that precedes the Olympics.
- Use of quotas. The Federation of each country whose representatives have successfully qualified must send addressed applications for participation in the coming Winter Olympic Games to the ISU and the IOC. The further decision on the admission of athletes is made by the Olympic College.
Formal Competition Formats
Today we can distinguish the following formats of official tournaments in classic ice skating:
This is the oldest competition format, which is traditionally included in the program of the World Cup and European Championship. Its essence is that athletes must identify the strongest at 4 distances. By the sum of all 4 stages, the total places occupied by the participants are determined. In turn, all-around events can be: small (500 + 1500 + 1000 + 3000 m), sprint (500 + 1000 + 500 + 1000 m) and classic (500 + 5000 + 1500 + 10 000 m). At the end of each distance points are awarded.
- Separate distances (team pursuit).
Competitions in this format are held at the World Cup, Olympic Games and national championships. Races are held at various distances: 500, 1000, 1500, 3000, 5000, 10 000 meters (men only). It will also be right to rank the team pursuit race here. 500m runs are held in 2 stages. First, skaters start on the inner track, and then on the outer. Each country can enter one male and female team for the pursuit race. In this race, 2 teams of 3 skaters participate.
In addition, short championships are traditionally held at championships of any caliber, including the Olympic Games. Athletes can compete in it at distances of 500, 1000, 1500 and 3000 m. Relays pass only at a distance of 3 km for women and 5 km for men.
In classic skates, competitors run in pairs when one athlete starts on the outside track and the other on the inside. In this case, both participants are required to change tracks after each lap. Runs are always carried out counterclockwise.
If at the moment of changing the lanes the athletes find themselves on the so-called transition line, that is, their trajectory intersects at one point, then the running participant along the inner lane must skip the runner from the outer lane. Otherwise, the offender should be disqualified.