What is Short Track Speed Skating?

Short track speed skating is a lightning-fast, adrenaline-fuelled winter sport full of unpredictability, where skaters reach speeds of up to 35-kmph on blades 46cm long and only 1mm thick It is a highly tactical and physically demanding sport with split-second decision making and race strategy playing a crucial role in racing, where skaters go head-to-head in races of 4 to 6 skaters in a knock-out style of competition.

 Josh Cheetham

Short track is a non-contact sport; however there are no barriers or lanes to separate the skaters so there are frequent collisions and falls in competition, making it one of the most exciting winter sports to watch.

With skaters travel at such high speeds in such close proximity to other athletes, protective equipment is vital. Skaters wear helmets, glasses, knee, shin and neck guards, and cut resistant suit and gloves to protect against the extremely sharp blades.

Getting ready for training

Short track skating is done on a 111.12-metre oval track on a standard size ice rink (30m x 60m) with skaters travelling in an anti-clockwise direction. Skaters compete over 500, 1000 and 1500-metres, with the 3000-metre relay for women and the 5000-metre relay for men.

Short track boots lace higher up the ankle and have a longer blade than traditional skates. Boots are custom made and are constructed with heavier materials that help stabilise the foot and ankle around corners.

Short track skaters boot

Blades are extremely sharp and are bent in at an arc that mirrors the direction of the turn, which helps skaters grip the ice around corners. The blades are also placed off-centre to the left so the boot does not touch the ice when the skater leans into the turn.

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