Short track speed skating at the Beijing Olympics


(Reuters) – Focus on short track speed skating at the Beijing Olympics

THE ABSOLUTE BASICS

The event made its Olympic debut at the Albertville Games in 1992, four years after it was introduced as a demonstration sport in Calgary.

The skaters – usually between the ages of four and six – compete on a 111.12 meter long rink, making it a very chaotic and high-octane event.

There are nine events at the Beijing Olympics after the addition of a mixed team relay.

HOW MANY MEDALS?

There will be nine gold medals up for grabs – mixed team relay and 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters (women and men), as well as a 3,000 women’s relay and a 5,000 men’s relay.

WHAT HAPPENED IN PYEONGCHANG?

South Korea dominated the discipline with three gold medals and a total of six podiums, ahead of China (one gold medal, four podiums).

Italy’s Arianna Fontana became the woman with the most Olympic medals in short track speed skating by winning gold in the 500m, silver in the 3,000m relay and bronze in the 1,000m to bring her total at eight. It also linked her to the Games’ most successful men – Apolo Ohno and Viktor Ahn.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN BEIJING?

Fontana, nicknamed “l’Angelo Biondo” (the blonde angel), will be aiming for a record ninth Olympic medal, having won at least one at every Olympics she has competed in since making her debut in Turin in 2006.

China will top the medal table for the first time since the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Dutch sensation Suzanne Schulting, 23, will be an athlete to watch. She won gold in the 1,000 meters in PyeongChang and won every event at the 2021 world championships.

WHEN DOES THIS HAPPEN?

The competition runs from February 5 to 16.

WHERE DOES IT TAKE PLACE ?

At Capitol Indoor Stadium, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics volleyball tournament and where the figure skating competition will take place.

WHAT’S NEW?

The mixed relay event will take place for the first time, over a distance of 2,000 meters.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

The origins of short track speed skating date back to 1905, when athletes in the United States and Canada competed in speed skating events on oval tracks. However, due to the lack of 400-meter-long tracks in both countries, many North American skaters began training on rinks instead.

WISH THAT

The capital’s indoor stadium, built in 1968, hosted the “ping pong diplomacy” table tennis matches between the United States and China in 1971, leading up to President Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing on Next year.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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