The Fastest Sport on Ice

Kat Winegar, Student Writer

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Speed skating.

A competitive ice sport in which competitors race each other and time while skating a certain distance.  Teams from all over Europe, Asia, and the US engage themselves with this exhilarating sport.  

This sport includes many different variations, such as long track and short track speed skating.

 The standard track for long track skating is usually 400 meters long, but can be divided into 200, 250, and/or 333 meters, while short track skating takes place in a hockey-sized arena (around 200 feet).  

Usually, long track events follow the European style system of two athletes competing against each other at a time, as well as  changing lanes with one-another throughout the race.  However, in short track skating, instead of two-by-two competing, they usually start in packs of four or more competitors (mass start).  

Plus, unlike in long track, short tracks small rink makes disqualification, falls, and elimination easier and more common.  

While it is a very common sport today, speed skating has not always been considered a sport.  

It began as a quicker form of transportation across frozen lakes and rivers during harsh winter seasons in Europe (the Netherlands). Around 1892, the International federation was founded, and the form of transportation was dubbed an actual sport.

 In 1924, long track speed skating was finally recognized and included  into the Olympic Winter Games.