Speed skating, or speedskating is a competitive appearance of ice skating in which the competitors race each other in traveling a certain distance on skates.
Types of speed skating are long track speed skating, short track speed skating, and marathon speed skating. In the Olympic Games, long track speed skating is typically referred to as just speed skating, while short track speed skating is known as short track. The ISU, the governing body of both ice sports, refers to long track as speed skating and short track as short track speed skating. The standard rink for long track is 400 m long, and tracks of 200, 250 and 333 m are used occasionally. It is one of two Olympic forms of the sport and the one with the longer history.
An international coalition was founded in 1892, the first for any winter sports. The sport enjoys large reputation in the Netherlands and Norway.
There are top international rinks in a numeral of other countries, including Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. A World Cup circuit is held with events in the countries and with two events in Thialf, the ice hall in Heerenveen, Netherlands.The sport is described as extensive track in North American usage, to distinguish it from 111 m oval on a hockey rink in short track skating. International rules allow some leeway in the size and radius of curves. Short track skating takes place on a smaller rink, normally the size of an ice hockey rink.
Distances are shorter than in long track racing, with the longest Olympic race being 1500 meters. Races are usually held as knockouts, with the best two in heats of four or five qualifying for the final race, where medals are awarded. Disqualifications and falls are not uncommon. The sport originates from pack manner events held in North America and was officially sanctioned in the 1970s, becoming an Olympic sport in 1992. Although this form of speed skating is newer, it is growing faster than long track speed skating, largely due to the fact that short track can be done on a regular ice rink rather than a long track oval.