Rules Of Speed Skating | How it is Played?

Regardless of the fact from where you are, you can’t say that you haven’t heard of skating before. Skating is a game hugely popular in Europe, Africa and Asia. But when we talk about speed skating, we refer to ice skating, basically. It is a kind of sport that is more dangerous than ordinary skating yet full of excitement and entertainment. And it’s also part of the Olympics.

Rules of Speed Skating

The game is believed to be developed at some point in the 18th century, however, there has always been a debate whenever experts sat down to discuss its origin. As per the records, the first competitive event of speed skating was tracked back to Norway in 1863.

It’s a winter racing sport in which athletes compete against each other on an ice-based circuit using skates and navigate their way around the track. Mind you, it’s not a flat and straight track but a circular track which makes it extremely difficult.

There are three types of speed skating, Long track, Short track and Marathon. All of them are the same but it’s just the difference in track, some tracks are longer while some are small.

Object of Playing Speed Skating

The object of the game is pretty simple, it’s like a race. You have to finish the laps and reach the finish line first to become a winner. But the problem is, the track is not flat but circular, which causes all sorts of trouble for the participants and most of them end up slipping down and not even able to complete the race.

How to Play?

Speed Skating involves all participants having to skate in a circular course in such a way that they don’t block their opponent’s way. Players are not allowed to shove or hit each other during the race, it’s not a physical sport but players have to show how fast they can skate to reach the finish line.

All the rules which players have to follow during Speed Skating competition in Olympics and in other such tournaments have been discussed below in detail.

General Rules of Speed Skating

  • The race starts from the standing point, an official fires a gunshot in the air to announce the start of the race.
  • If an athlete moves early, it is called a false start. If a player keeps doing it intentionally, he can be disqualified from the game.
  • Every race consists of specific numbers of lapses.
  • There’s an inner lane and outer lane on the icy field.
  • Players try to stick to their lane so that the other players are not stopped from going ahead and everyone has a clear path.
  • If two athletes meet in the corner, they must not shove each other or block each other’s way. If an athlete is on the outer lane, he should keep moving on the track and leave the other side for the other one.
  • Falling down and losing balance in speedskating is common. However, an athlete can keep running no matter how many times he falls.
  • You can have a substitute for you, who is known as a relay player. But for a relay player to be eligible to run for his mate, the athlete must have completed one lap otherwise the relay player can’t come in.

Time Duration of Speed Skating

There is no time limit, as soon as the first three skaters reach the finish line, the race is finished.

Speedskating Field

Speed Skating field is an icy arena where players compete against each other and laps are completed. Its tack is also made of ice in circular shape and length of this track can vary, depending on the level of sport.

In the amateur’s or beginner matches, this length can be around 111 metres to complete one lap. While for the competitive and high level games, it can be up to 5000 meters.

Playing Equipment

During a speed skating race, players wear typical speed skating skin suits, boots and a few more things to keep themselves well protected from the cold and any serious injury.

Skin suit: These suits are designed as per the size of the bodies. These are typical speed skating suits with kevlar patches that protect vital body parts.

Boots: The boots used in speed skating are made from graphite and kevlar. They prove helpful during speed skating by making turning and leaning forward easier.

Blades: They come underneath the boots to cut the ice while skating.

Additional Protection: Players are also allowed to wear the protective gears if they wish but that’s unusual because it increases the weight on their boots and this extra weight can stop them from skating fast and winning the game.


Though there is no point system and the winner is always unambiguous – the one who reaches the finish line first after completing laps. But judges always sit in the officials’ area where they examine everything from fouls to ensuring that the game is being held as per the rule of speedskating.

Famous Speedskating Tournaments

The World Speed skating championship and Olympics are one of the most high-level tournaments in speed skating. Top athletes from all around the world participate in these tournaments, representing their respective countries.

Apart from these, speed skating games are also held at national level in countries where the weather is ideal for this sport.

Famous Speedskating Venues

Some of the famous speed skating venues in the world are:

  • Gunda-Niemann-Stirnemann-Halle, Erfurt, Germany
  • Heilongjiang Indoor Rink, Harbin, China
  • Jilin Provincial Speed Skating Rink, Changchun, China
  • Kometa Ice Rink, Kolomna, Russia
  • Ice Palace Krylatskoye, Moscow, Russia
  • M-Wave, Nagano, Japan

Governing Body

The International Skating Union (ISU) is the international governing body that takes care of ice skating and speed skating disciplines. It was found in Netherland in July 1892. It is one of the oldest sports federations. Now they are headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.