Sport in the Spotlight: Short Track Speed Skating

Sport in the Spotlight: Short Track Speed Skating

02 February 2018 / 13:55

Unlike traditional speed skating, short track was only officially recognised by the International Skating Union in 1967 and first fully featured in an Olympic Winter Games at Albertville 1992.

Short track grew as an offshoot from speed skating as mass-start events became more popular and has been out-growing its predecessor in terms of popularity since appearing at the Games.

North American and Asian nations have dominated the sport at the Olympic Winter Games since Albertville 1992 – namely the USA, Canada, South Korea and China.

American Apolo Anton Ohno and Russia’s Viktor Ahn are the joint-most decorated short track speed skaters with eight medals each, although the latter has the most gold medals with six, including three from Sochi 2014.

The Schedule

February 10

Men’s 1500m – 19:00-21:50 (10:00-12:50 UK time)

Women’s 500m and 3000m relay qualification – 19:00-21:50 (10:00-12:50 UK time)

February 13

Men’s 1000m and 5000m relay qualification – 19:00-21:30 (10:00-12:30 UK time)

Women’s 500m – 19:00-21:30 (10:00-12:30 UK time)

February 17

Men’s 1000m – 19:00-21:55 (10:00-12:55 UK time)

Women’s 1500m – 19:00-21:55 (10:00-12:55 UK time)

February 20

Men’s 500m qualification – 19:00-21:00 (10:00-12:00 UK time)

Women’s 1000m qualification and 3000m relay – 19:00-21:00 (10:00-12:00 UK time)

February 22

Men’s 500m and 5000m relay – 19:00-21:45 (10:00-12:45 UK time)

Women’s 1000m – 19:00-21:45 (10:00-12:45 UK time)

How Team GB has fared in the past

Team GB’s maiden Olympic short track speed skating medal was Nicky Gooch’s 500m bronze at Lillehammer 1994.

Britwatch

Joshua Cheetham

Joshua Cheetham has been gradually building his experience since taking up the sport at Nottingham Ice Racing Club.

He initially got into the sport through his dad, who took him to the local rink – a decision that paid dividends when he finished sixth at the 2010 Junior World Championships.

Prior to PyeongChang, his most memorable sporting achievement to date was winning bronze in the 5000m relay at the 2016 European Championships in Sochi.

Elise Christie

There’s not much this young Scot has left to achieve in the world of short track speed skating but having left Sochi 2014 – her second Games – empty-handed, Elise Christie has a score to settle on the Winter Olympic stage.

A ten-time European champion, Christie stormed into the record books once more in March 2017, winning the world titles at 1000m, 1500m and the overall gold, the first British and first European woman to do so.

Following three disqualifications at Sochi 2014, the 12-time world medallist will be confident of improving on her previous Olympic best result of 11th in the 500m at Vancouver 2010.

Charlotte Gilmartin

Charlotte Gilmartin began competing as a junior speed skater for Great Britain aged just 15, before rising through the ranks to regularly compete on the world stage as a senior, claiming an individual 1500m bronze at the 2013 European Championships in Malmo.

She made her Olympic Winter Games debut at Sochi 2014, finishing 16th in the 500m and 28th in the 1500m.

In January 2016, Gilmartin won 3000m gold and overall silver at the European Championships and added 500m bronze a year later.

Kathryn Thomson

Such was the way Kathryn Thomson impressed in her first year with the team, she was selected as part of the women’s relay team for the European Championships in 2013.

By then she had also shown off her 500m ability, winning silver at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, representing Team GB, where she was also the flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony.

A year later she helped the British team to 3000m relay silver at the European Championships while PyeongChang 2018 will see the 2013 and 2014 British junior champion achieve her dream of competing at an Olympic Winter Games.

Farrell Treacy

Farrell Treacy has shown himself to get better and better with each race that comes, securing numerous World Cup quarter-final appearances in the buildup to PyeongChang 2018.

That saw him hit the qualification requisite for the 1000m – the race he’ll compete in on his Olympic debut as well as the 1500m.

Having first begun skating in January 2007 at Solihull Ice Rink and with two younger brothers also in the sport, Treacy has progressed to competing at World and European Championship level, helping the 5000m relay team to sixth at the latter last year.

Who is the competition?

Shim Suk-Hee

Completing the sweep of gold, silver and bronze medals at Sochi 2014, South Korea’s Shim Suk-Hee arrives in PyeongChang as the form speed skater across multiple disciplines.

The eight-time world champion is still only 21 too, victorious in the team relay while picking up two individual medals four years ago, after bursting onto the scene in the Youth Olympic Games.

Charles Hamelin

Just one gold medal stands between Charles Hamelin and Canadian history, a target he is desperate to reach at PyeongChang.

Twelve years after his first Games, Hamelin will be after his fourth gold after his two individual and one relay honour, including a podium-topping 1500m performance in Sochi four years ago.

But with no Canadian having ever earned three individual gold medals, the 31-year-old and ten-time world champion certainly has the top step on his mind.

Choi Min-Jeong

Another home favourite, big things are also expected of Choi Min-Jeong at PyeongChang 2018 – despite being just 19 years of age.

Already a seven-time world champion, it seems only a matter of time until Choi becomes an Olympic champion, set to be a threat across all lengths of race.

Sjinkie Knegt

Taking all four titles in last month’s European Championships, Sjinkie Knegt is certainly a short track star who arrives in form.

The Dutchman is also part of a squad that enjoyed their best Games four years ago, a potential medal prospect across all disciplines, having achieved 1000m bronze in Sochi.

Sportsbeat 2018

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