Speed Skating at the Winter Olympics
Speed Skating at the Winter Olympics refers to long track speed skating (as compared to Short Track Speed Skating), and has a longer history at the Olympics than the shorter version. Speed skating has been at the Winter Olympics since the first Games in 1924. Women's events were added in 1960 (though there was a women's speed skating demonstration in 1932).
Speed skating events are held on a 400m oval track on ice. The races are held as time-trials with skaters starting in pairs. The skaters perform one inner curve and one outer curve on each lap, changing over on the back straight.
Speed Skating Events for 2022
There are 14 events in speed skating at the Winter Olympics.
- 500 m for men and women
- 1,000 m for men and women
- 1,500 m for men and women
- 3,000 m for women
- 5,000 m for men and women
- 10,000 m for men
- Team Pursuit for men and women
- Mass start for men and women
- The first Winter Olympic gold medalist was Charlew Jewtraw (USA) who won the 500 meters speed skating title in 1924.
- The Winter Games at St Moritz in 1928 was plagued with warm weather, resulting in the cancellation of the 10,000-meter speed-skating race.
- At the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics all four medal races for men and the demonstration races for women were skated in the so-called "North American pack style," with mass starts. That was the only Olympics in which long track races were conducted using the pack style.
- In Oslo in 1952, 28-year-old Norwegian truck driver Hjalmar Andersen won three speed-skating gold medals, setting Olympic records in two of the events.
- The first person to win five individual gold medals in one Games (Summer and Winter) was American Eric Heiden, when he won all five men's speed skating titles (three of Mark Spitz's swimming gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics were in relays). The events were 500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, and 10,000 meters.
- Christa Luding-Rothenburger of East Germany is the only athlete to have won the medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, in the same year. She won the women's 1000 meter speed skating event at the Winter Olympics in Calgary 1988, and seven months later won a silver medal in track cycling in the Seoul Summer Olympic Games.
- In Calgary in 1988, Yvonne van Gennip of the Netherlands won three speed skating gold.
- The 1992 Games are the last in which the speed skating venue was outdoors.
- In the speed skating competition in 1994, Norway's Johann Olav Koss won three gold medals, setting a world record in each event.
- In 1994, Bonnie Blair of the USA won two speed skating gold medals, which made her America's most successful Olympic woman with five gold medals from three Games, and a total of six Olympic medals.
- In 2002, German speed-skater Claudia Pechstein won two gold medals, thus taking home a medal in four straight Winter Games.
- At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Haralds Silovs became the first athlete in Olympic history to participate in both short track (1500m) and long track (5000m) speed skating.
- A mass-start speed skating event was added for men and women in 2018.
- US skater Erin Jackson won the 500 meters speed skating at the 2022 Beijing Games, becoming the the first black woman to win a gold medal in an individual event at the Winter Games.
- The oldest female to compete at the Winter Olympics is Claudia Pechstein in 2022. She was competing in her 8th Winter Olympics, aged 49 years 362 days when she competed in the mass start speed skating event. The race was held three days before her 50th birthday.
- See also short track speed skating
- Speed skating demonstration in 1932
- Speed skating videos
- More Winter Olympics Sports
- Winter Olympics main page.
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- Gman 316 (2013)
it's fitting that ERIC HEIDEN isn't mentioned because the guy is so humble. I remember at one of the Olympic games recently he was working as part of the medical team for injuries and a well known skater got hurt and couldn't believe when he found out who was working on him. No athlete has ever won as many individual gold medals at any one Olympics. No one comes close. Michael Phelps might have a lot of gold but his feet at one Olympics doesn't compare with Heidens. He won his medals in a narrow range of events. Heiden won all the distance and short course skating events. No one comes close to his accomplishments at any one Olympics. Also another person who I consider one of the greatest athletes ever is greek weightlifter Pyrros Dimas. Probably the strongest weightlifter pound for pound ever. Nice try at ignoring people who should be at the top of the list. Mat Rudnitsky who wrote an article and called skating " not even a sport and a joke " should put his loud mouth where his money is and try and duplicate even half of Eric Heiden's accomplishments. Or go tell Pyrros Dimas to his face he is a joke. See what happens. People should go back and do their homework before they write an article and vote on something without knowing.