Now the fastest
human-powered sport on the planet, speed skating took off quietly
enough on the frozen canals of medieval Holland.
races were eventually exported to neighboring European countries,
where during the winter months skaters competed to see who could
glide over the ice the fastest - and still maintain their upright
footing at the finish.
really began to take off in the 19th century, when the first official
speed skating competition took place in Oslo in 1863, leading
up to a major international competition in Hamburg some 20 years
later. As a result, the International
Skating Union was founded in 1892 in Holland, the birthplace
of speed skating, to establish worlwide regulations governing
has been part of the Winter Games since the first in Chamonix
in 1924. Women skaters were only allowed to enter the competition
beginning in 1960 at the Squaw Vally Games.
February 2018 Olympic Speed Skating Schedule & Medal Events
short track speed skating arguably provides more thrills,
traditional speed skating is admired for combining speed and
endurance as skaters cover distances ranging from 500 to 10,000
meters while reaching incredible speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph).
at the Olympic Games consists of ten events: 500m, 1000m, 1500m,
5000m for both woman and men, 3000m for women, 10,000m for men,
and Team pursuit for women and men.
DID YOU KNOW? Olympic speed skating fun facts
US speed skater Eric Heiden makes
a clean sweep at the 1980 Games.
• The first time women were allowed to compete in speed skating was at the 1932 Lake Placid Games, but only as a demonstration sport. It was not until the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley that women’s speed skating was officially included in the Olympic program.
• There's a reason they call it speed skating. Olympic athletes can reach speeds of more than 30mph racing down the track.
• US speed skating legend, Eric Heiden, executed the greatest single feat in Winter Olympic history when he won all five events at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.
• An innovation in skate design caused world speed skating records to be broken when clapskates (named for the sound they make when the blade hits the boot) were introduced at the Olympic Games in 1998. The semi-detachable blade allow skaters to keep their blades on the ice slightly longer than traditional skales, giving them more power and speed.