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Speed Skating at the Special Olympics
This is a popular sport in the Winter Olympics, and it undeniably brings in an adrenaline rush not only in the competitors, but also in the audience. This sport is good for all ages, and is a very good to boost health and fitness. It is likewise a recognized competitive sport in different countries, as well as in the Special Olympics.
General rules apply for both the Winter and Special Olympics. All skaters will start the race with both skates behind the starting line. The winning skater is the one who finishes the race first with the blade of one of his skates crossing the finish line after completing all laps in the race.
The skaters are given adequate time to settle down and assume a balanced position after taking marks, and they begin the race upon the firing of a start pistol. The race may also be re-started when a skater is off-balance at the start.
In the short track competition, athletes run on a 111 meter track on a counter-clockwise manner. The goal here is to reach the finish line without passing inside the track. Skaters who pass inside the track are disqualified from the race. As in other races, the lead skater always has the right of way, but he can be disqualified if he cuts off another skater while changing lanes.
Skaters who false start twice may also be disqualified. They may also suffer the same punishment if they are found guilty of impeding their opponent’s way to slow the latter down.
In the short track competition, disqualified athletes are placed at the last place during the final round.
Like the short track competition, races in the long track races also run counter-clockwise. Only two skaters are allowed to race at once during the individual competition forms, and they must stay in their designated lanes. They must also change lanes during each lap.
In this competition, the skater who changes from the outside to the inside lane will have the right-of-way. In the team pursuit (non-individual form), two teams consisting of three skaters are allowed to race all at once. Teams should remain in the inner lane during the race, and they start on the opposite sides of the rink.
In the short track competition, skaters should have speed skates, a protective helmet, spandex skin suit, protective eyewear, shin pads, knee pads and a bib-style neck guard. Some organizers require the Kevlar suit to protect the athlete from being cut from another skater’s blade. The same equipment is used by skaters in the long track competition, except for the helmet.
While the short track and long track competitions are the most popular forms of the sport, athletes may also be classified in quad speed skating and inline speed skating categories. Competitions also vary depending on the distance of the race, such as:
Speed skating also has team variations, such as the men’s team pursuit and the ladies’ team pursuit. In these divisions, each team is composed of three racers, and they start the race from the opposite sides of the rink. Only two teams are allowed to race at once.
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