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Olympics 2018
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MAIN Arrow to Sports Sports Arrow to Olympics Olympic Games Arrow to Olympics Speed Skating Olympic Speed Skating

Olympic Speed Skating
© LaPresse

Now the fastest human-powered sport on the planet, speed skating took off quietly enough on the frozen canals of medieval Holland.

13th century 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.

The sport 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 the sport.

Speed skating 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.


Canada - CBC Olympics CBC

February 2018 Olympic Speed Skating Schedule & Medal Events
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While Olympic 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).

Speed skating 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

Eric Heiden 1980c
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.


More about Olympic speed skating around the Web:


International Olympic Committee - Speed Skating - Overview of the speed skating competitions, list of events, Olympic records, athlete profiles, Flash presentation, picture gallery, related links.

International Skating Union - Speed Skating - World coverage in news and pictures, results and records, rules and regulations, discussion boards.

U.S. Speed Skating - National governing body offering news, pictures and information, schedule and results, details on sponsored programs.

Speed Skating Canada - News, feature stories, pictures, records and results, event calendar, club and membership details.

 

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