Skaters compete not against the clock, but against each other. Normally four/six skaters with those placed first and second advancing to the next round.
Individual competitions begin with 32/36 athletes and heats with four/six skaters in a mass start. They skate anti-clockwise and the first two advance to the next round although sometimes more than two advance depending on the number of heats and the nature of any qualifications. Final four compete for the medals in the 500m/1000m and six in the 1500m.
The Men’s and Women’s Relays have a semi final and finals competed for on separate days.
Individual Racing Rules
The general racing rule is that the competitors by their way of skating shall contribute to the honest sporting and safe progress of the race in order to determine the result of the race on its merits. Breaches of the racing rules are considered as follows:
Races are run counter clockwise, that is to say the inner side of the track is on the left hand side of the skater;
Overtaking is allowed at all times, but until the Skaters are besides each other the responsibility for any obstruction or collision shall be upon the Skater overtaking, provided the Skater being overtaken does not act improperly;
When a Skater has been lapped once the Skater may continue his race, preferably on the outside of the track, provided this does not interfere with nor impedes with other competitors;
If a Skater is lapped twice, that Skater shall leave the race unless there are one or more other Skaters very close to his current race position. Skaters who have left the race on basis of this rule shall be recorded as not finished. If the Referee, at his discretion, feels that the Skater was prevented from finishing due to reasons beyond the Skaters control, then the Referee may declare the Skater having reached the finish, but no time shall be recorded;
A competitor or Team has completed the distance when the Skater has reached the finish line with the leading tip of the skate blade.
The general racing rule is that the Competitors by their way of skating shall contribute to the honest sporting and safe progress of the race in order to determine the result of the race on its merits;
Breaches of the racing rules are consider as follows:
Off-track – shortening the distance to be skated with one or both skates on the left side of the curve, marked by track marking blocks;
Impeding – deliberately impeding, blocking, charging, or pushing another Competitor with any part of the body. Interfere with another Skater by crossing his/her course thereby deliberately causing contact;
Assistance – each skater shall compete as an individual. Any assistance from other Skaters will be cause for sanctions of all Skaters involved. This will not apply to the push the Skater receives from their Team-mate in a Relay race;
Kicking out – deliberately kicking out of any skate during any part of a race thereby causing danger including at the finish line or throwing the body across the finish line is forbidden.
Relay Racing Rules
Teams consist of maximum 5 Competitors. In any race 4 Competitors will skate as Team members;
For each race the Team can be composed of any four of the five Skaters originally named;
Each of the four Team-members must take part in the race;
All members of a Team shall be equally dressed. Teams which do not comply with this shall be excluded from participation;
A Competitor will be in the race and be responsible for the Team until that Skater is relayed by a Team member. Relaying will be by touch, this is to say a Competitor will not be in the race until that Skater has been touched by, or has touched the Competitor he is relieving;
A competitor may be relayed at any time except during the last two (2) laps. These laps must be skated by one Skater. A warning shot will be fired to indicate the start of the last three (3) laps;
In the case of a fall during the last two (2) laps, the Skater may be relayed.
The individual racing rules, paragraphs 1 and 2, shall apply to Relay races, that is to say for all members of the Team, both participating and relayed Team members;
Breaches of the relay racing rules are considered as follows:
Relaying non touch – the relay has taken place without a ouch or that the touch has not been obvious, clearly shown, and seen by the Referee or Assistant Referee;
Relaying during the last two (2) laps – the last relay has not been clearly started before the commencement of the final two laps.
Sanctions For Infringement of the Racing Rules
The term ‘disqualification’, shall be understood to describe the various sanctions mentioned in this Rule including without limitation the following type of sanctions;
Penalty – in the case of an infringement of the Racing Rules a penalty will be given. The Skater/Relay Team will be disqualified in the relevant race in which the infringement occurred, and will be excluded from participating in the next round of the distance concerned. The Skater/Relay Team will forfeit the points/result accrued in that race alone. Points/results accrued prior to that race will not be affected.
Yellow Card – if an infringement of the Racing Rules is deemed by the Referee to be an unsafe, harmful or hazardous offense, a yellow card will be show to the infringing Skater. The Skater/Relay Team will be disqualified in the relevant race in which the infringement occurred and excluded from participating in the next round of the distance concerned. The Skater/Relay Team will forfeit prior points/results accrued in all races over the distance concerned.
Any Skater who is shown the yellow card twice in the same competition will be sanctioned by a red card, will be excluded from the competition immediately and will not be ranked in the final classification.
Red Card – In the case of an infringement which is deemed by the Referee to be intentionally dangerous or grossly negligent, the Skater will be shown a red card.
In the case a Skater is shown two yellow cards in the same competition, the Skater will be shown a red card.
For any action, either on or off ice, a red card may also be shown to the Skater.
The Skater who is shown a red card will be excluded immediately from the competition and will not be ranked in the final classification. In the case a Skater is shown a red card in a Relay race, his Relay Team will be excluded immediately from the Relay competition and will not be ranked in the final Relay classification. Individual sanctions for the Skater(s) concerned will also apply.
The Referee shall be the Chief Executive Officer, and shall decide all points of dispute and infringements of rules, which can result in sanctions. His decision shall be final.
The referee is empowered, amongst other things, to oversee the racing rules, to:
Add a Skater who was in a qualifying position to the next round if he feels that the Skater was prevented from qualifying due to:
an offense resulting in sanction;
any other reason not resulting from any direct or indirect action of the Skater concerned.
The Referee makes any advancement solely on discretion;
The Referee, at his discretion, before a decision is made, decides to view the Video Replay System at full speed, slow motion or still picture, with the exception of matters concerning the starting procedure.
The Referee shall decide when a touch has been “obvious” in Relay racing and should observe all relaying for this particular purpose, with the assistance of the Assistant Referees.
There are 2 other on ice referees:
The Assistant Referee appointed by the President will substitute in case the Referee is no longer able to do his job due to illness or injury;
The Assistant Referee(s) shall perform all duties and tasks as assigned by the Referee;
The Assistant Referee(s) must record their observations and must present their notes immediately after each qualifying round to the Referee.
The Assistant Referee Video:
Shall be located off the ice next to the Video Replay Operator;
Shall observe the Video Replay System during all races and report his observations to the Referee;
Must record his observations and must present the notes immediately after each qualifying round to the Referee.
Previous to each start the names of those about to compete are to be clearly called at the heat box. Failure to appear promptly is equivalent to withdrawal from the competition concerned, except for medical reasons.
Skaters with defective equipment (e.g. broken skate blade) will not be allowed to start or re-start in any race.
Prior to the start of each semi-final over an individual distance, the participants are introduced by the announcer stating their full name and country.
Prior to the start of a Final over an individual distance, the participants are introduced by the announcer stating their full name, country, and other information for the interest of the public.
On the command “go to the start” the Skaters shall place themselves at their respective dot at the starting line. The Skaters have to stand still until the Starter calls “ready”, whereupon they have to take their starting position with the centre of the body over the respective dot and keep this position absolutely until the shot is fired;
However, if more than 5 Skaters are starting in a race, the starting dots will not be used, and the Starter will direct the Skaters in the respective order of their position to the starting line.
If due to the number of Skaters in a race a second row is required at the start then the Skaters at this line will be positioned as far as possible to the outside of the track in the order of the lane positions.
If a Skater takes his starting position before the command “ready” or leaves his position or moves any part of his body after the command “ready” and before the shot is fired, it is a false start.
If a Skater interfered with and falls before the first apex block after the starting line the Skaters shall be called back to make a new start.
If a false start takes place, the Skaters will be recalled with a second shot, or blast with a whistle. The Skaters must return to the start line without delay. The Skater shall identify the Skaters by line position number and shall indicate to the Skater(s) that they made a false start.
If all Skaters remain in the starting position despite a false start, the Starter shall re-start the race using only the command “ready”. If the Skaters must be re-assembled for the start, the complete starting procedure shall be respected. The Skater or Skaters who made the false start, will be assessed a false start.
If more than one Skater is responsible for a false start they shall all be assessed a false start.
If one of the Skaters breaks from his marks, thereby causing other Skaters to follow him, only the Skater at fault shall be assessed a false start.
After a false start the Starter shall tell a Skater that he has made a false start. In the case of a second false start by the same Skater the Starter shall tell the Skater that he gets a penalty.
Any Skater that by his action, deliberately delays the start, shall be assessed a false start.