ASSC Altrincham Speed Skating Club
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Shorttrack is the name under which speed skating on an ice hockey sized rink is better known. Using seven blocks in each corner, the track of 111.12m is marked. On Olympic sized rinks (60 x 30 meters) there are five tracks marked, after each race in a competition the blocks are moved so that no track gets run out to badly. On smaller rinks, like ours in Altrincham, less tracks are available.
Crash mats are put next to the barrier, preferable all around the rink, but at least in the corners and the out of the corner.

Competitions for individuals are held over 222m (2 laps), 333m (3 laps), 500m (4.5 laps), 777m (7 laps), 1000m (9 laps) and 1500m (13.5 laps). Sometimes a superficial is raced over 3000m (27 laps). The distance that you skate during a competition depends on your age and type of competition. Shorter distances are for the younger ones.
Overview of Shorttrack track

Competitions for teams, known as relay races, are most of the time held over 2000m (18 laps) for mixed teams, 3000m for woman, and 5000m (45 laps) for man. In a relay 4 skaters of the same team, race in turns. Every skater should do at least 1 lap. The final two laps have to be done by one skater.


Underneath racing rules are extracted from the document: International Skating Union, Special Regulations & Technical Rules, Short Track Speed Skating 2018. The complete document can be read on: ISU complete short track rules & regulations. The rules presented here are a summary:

Starting rules
A race is only allowed one false start, if you cause the second false start you will be disqualified and not allowed to race.

Individual racing rules
1a. Races are run counter-clockwise.
1b. You are allowed to overtake at all times, but you are responsible for any obstruction/colission until you are next to the skater in front of you.
1c. If you are lapped, you must move to the outside and not interfere with the skater overtaking.
1d. If you are lapped twice, you will have to leave the race and you will be recorded as not finished. C 1e. You have finished the distance when you have reached the finish line with the leading tip of the skate blade.
2a. The general racing rule is that you by the way of your skating shall contribute to the honest sporting and safe progress of the race.
2b. Breaches of the racing rules are considered as follows:

OFF-TRACK: skating with one or both skates on the left side of the track marking blocks
IMPEDING: Impeding, blocking, charging, or pushing another Skater with any part of your body. Interfere with another Skater by crossing his/her course thereby causing contact.
photo impeding
ASSISTANCE: Your not allowed to receive help of one of the other skaters in the race, for instance team mates.
KICKING OUT: Kicking out of your skate during any part of a race thereby causing danger.
For instance, kicking your skate at the finish line or throwing the body across the finish line.
photo Elise Christie kicking out during ISU World Cup 2019 Torino

Relay racing rules
3a. Teams can consist of more than 4 competitors, but only four can take art in the race. During most competitions a max of 5 skaters per team is allowed.
3b. All members of a Team shall be equally dressed. For competitions where Skaters from different clubs form a team, a simple and easy identification system will be sufficient.
3c. You are responsible for the team while you race, until you touch/push the next skater of your team. Failing to touch/push is reason for disqualification.
3d. A Skater 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.
3e. In the case of a fall during the last two (2) laps, the Skater may be relayed.
3f. A Skater from a team can only come on the track to make an exchange. Skaters entering before an exchange and skaters exiting after an exchange are also subjected to the applicable racing rules.
3g. The non-racing members of the team must stay out of the track.
3h. When you exchange you can not hinder other teams. For example: changing lanes is not allowed.
photo relay lane change
3i. When you are on the inside track you cannot hinder a skaters who is coming in to take an exchange.
Relay infringements
4a. The individual racing rules, apply to Relay race team members.
4b. In addition to the race rules breaches, the following are considered breaches of the relay racing rules:

RELAYING NON TOUCH: The relay has taken place without a (obvious) touch.
RELAYING DURING THE LAST TWO (2) LAPS: The last relay has not been clearly started before the commencement of the final two (2) laps.

Sanctions that can be given for infringements of the Racing Rules
7a. The term “disqualification” is used to describe the following various sanctions:
Penalty: for an infringement of the Racing Rules.
Yellow Card: for an unsafe, harmful or hazardous offence; or if a skater makes two penalties in one race.
Red Card: for a dangerous or grossly negligent infringement of the Racing Rules; or if a skater received two yellow cards in one competition, or if a skater misbehaves of the ice.
Consequences of the sanctions
7b. Penalty: you will be disqualified in the race in which the infringement occurred, and will be excluded from participating in the next round of the distance. Except if it concerns an A final, in which case you will not receive the points for that specific race.
7c. Yellow card-individual: You will be disqualified in the race in which the infringement occurred, and will be excluded from participating in the next round of the distance. You will loose the prior points/results accrued in all races over the distance. You can still participate in other distances.
7d. Yellow card-relay: if a Yellow Card is given due to the actions of one skater: the Yellow Card is for that skater only. If a Yellow Card is given for the actions of 2 different Skaters from a team, the Yellow Card is for the team.
7e. Red Card-individually: you will not be allowed to participate in any race, both Individual and Relay, and will not be ranked in the final classification of individual distances not yet concluded.
7f. Red Card-relay: your relay team will be disqualified in the race and will not be ranked in the final relay classification. The team skater who was given a Red Card will not be allowed to participate in any race, both individual and relay, and will not be ranked in the final classification of individual distances not yet concluded.
7j. If you accumulate two (2) Red Cards within 12 months, you will be automatically suspended from all ISU Events, the Olympic Winter Games, the Youth Olympic Winter Games, and International Competitions for at least two (2) months or three (3) applicable competitions whichever is the longer period.
7o. Any Skater, for whom the race has been stopped (to preserve the Skater’s well-being), will not be allowed to take part in the re-start. This does not apply to the starting procedure. If the Skater is injured resulting from an action by another Skater for which a penalty is given, the Referee may advance the injured Skater or let the Skater participate in the re-start or re-run.


Shorttrack speed skating originated from long track speed skating. It started in North America around 1905, with the first mass start competition held on ice hockey rings. It took till 1967 to recognise shorttrack speed skating as an official sport. The first ISU short track speed skating championships where held in 1978 in the UK, solihull. These became the world championships in 1981. In 1988 it became a demonstration sport during the Calgary Olympic winter games. In 1992 it became an official part of the Olympic Winter Games. Since 1997 the World Cup series are organised. The following is an interesting clip on: Evolution of Short Track Speed Skating - ISU Archives.

Online are a few clips from the early days. For instance this clip of 1965 Scotland VS England 1965. Can you believe it? No helmets, no gloves, no suits and no crash mats; and big wooden blocks as markers of the track. And they do not go any slower.