1 . Armband colours
Skaters in the outer lane wear a red armband and skaters on the inner lane wear a white armband.
2 . Blade
The part of the blade that comes in contact with the ice forms a straight line. Mens speed skating blades are generally 42 46 cm long. The longer the blade, the faster the skate up to a point where length would become an obstacle. The underside of the blade is only about 1mm thick.
3 . Glasses
Glasses protect skaters eyes from the wind and ice chips. The lens reduces glare and improves visibility of the track.
4 . Clap skate
Unlike conventional skates, the heel of the clap skate blade is not attached to the boot, and the toe of the blade is affixed to the boot with a hinged apparatus. At the end of each stride, as the skater picks up the skate, the blade briefly disconnects from the heel of the boot, thereby keeping the blade on the ice longer and increasing the skaters pushing power. When the blade has fully extended, a spring mechanism mounted on the front of the boot snaps the blade back up to the boot, resulting in the clapping sound that gives the skate its name.
5 . Racing suit
Skaters wear skin tight racing suits with hoods to decrease air resistance. Racing suits must conform to the natural shape of the skaters body. Insertion or attachment of forms or devices to create a different shape is not permitted.
6 . Early pioneers
The Dutch were arguably the earliest pioneers of skating. They began using canals to maintain communication by skating from village to village as far back as the 13th century. Skating eventually spread across the channel to England, and soon the first clubs and artificial rinks began to form. Passionate skaters included several kings of England, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon III and German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
7 . Early competition
The first known skating competition is thought to have been held in the Netherlands in 1676. However, the first official speed skating events were not held until 1863 in Oslo, Norway. In 1889, the Netherlands hosted the first World Championships, bringing together Dutch, Russian, American and English teams.
8 . Olympic history
Speed skating appeared for the first time in 1924 at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. Initially, only men were allowed to participate. It was only at the Lake Placid Games in 1932 that women were authorised to compete in speed skating, which was then only a demonstration sport. It was not until the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley that womens speed skating was officially included in the Olympic programme.
The events almost always follow the European system, which consists of skaters competing two by two. At the 1932 Olympic Games, the Americans organised American style events, i.e. with a mass start. This decision brought about a boycott by many European competitors, which allowed the Americans to win the four gold medals. This system would give birth to short track speed skating, which was added to the Olympic programme in Albertville in 1992.
9 . Womens competitions
In the 1930s, women began to be accepted in ISU speed skating competitions. Although womens races had been held in North America for some time and at the 1932 Winter Olympics in a demonstration event, the ISU did not organize official competitions until 1936. However, Zofia Nehringowa set the first official world record in 1929. Womens speed skating was not very high profile; in Sk
10 . Technical developments
Artificial ices entered the long track competitions with the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the competitions in 1956 on Lake Misurina were the last Olympic competitions on natural ice. 1960 also saw the first Winter Olympic competitions for women. Lidia Skoblikova won two gold medals in 1960 and four in 1964.
More aerodynamic skating suits were also developed, with Swiss skater Franz Krienb