Sports description

Short track speed skating
The sport evolved from long track speed skating, increasing the season length by transferring it from the open to indoor track. It is done on every continent with an increasing popularity, thanks to its high speed, the spectacular take-overs and the tactical solutions so specific to the sport. At the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games short track was introduced as a demonstration sport, nonetheless four years later in Albertville it became part of the official programme.

The track
Short track events are organised on 60×30 meter ice, that is the ice also used for ice hockey, where the competitors run on an oval ice track with a length of 111.12 meters. In the „ends” of the oval ice track, designating the race area, seven cones are located inside which competitors must not compete. Integral parts of the tracks and the competitions are the track-stewards, who in case of the displacement of the cones immediately put them back to their original position. It is also their task to observe the quality of the ice between the races. They water the track, allowing for faster gliding while also evening out the ice’s surface.

It sometimes happens that after a fall or a caught toe-pick a larger piece bursts out from the ice. The whole created this way is filled up with frosty snow, and frozen with dry ice.

Compulsory equipment
– safety type helmet
– cut resistant long sleeved and long legged clothing
– cut resistant gloves or mitt
– neck protector
– shin protector
– knee protector

The glasses are not compulsory.

The blade
The width of the blades varies between 1.1 and 1.25 mm, depending on the personal preferences of the competitors. The blades must be fixed to the boot at a minimum of two points with no moveable parts. Blades are sharpened with the help of sharpening machines and various special stones.

There is another machine for the grinding of the blades – the curves, due to the speed and other physical barriers, are also subject to frequent changes, their settings depend on the feedback of the competitors.

The shoes are made out of carbon, with special technique – they are moulded on the feet of the competitors; making the shoes of the ice skates to be unique pieces.

The protective mats
During competitions, the track is surrounded by special protective mats that can absorb the competitor’s kinetic energy, hence decreasing the risk of injuries. The impacts are engulfed by a minimum ninety-centimeter-thick, multi-layered mat system, padded with air chambered sponge layers.