Short Track Skating | Australian Olympic Committee
 

Australia and Olympic Short Track Speed Skating

Australia has a great record in Short Track Skating. At Lillehammer 1994, Australia won its first Winter Olympic medal with a bronze in the men's relay. The quartet of Richard Nizielski, Steven Bradbury, Andrew Murtha and Kieran Hansen made history when they finished behind Italy and the United States in the final.

For more than half of the 45 lap race there was nothing between the four squads. Then with 21 laps to go, a Canadian lost his edge and crashed into the side. At the 12 lap mark the Italian 500m world recorder holder, Mirko Vuillermin accelerated and gave his team the winning break. It seemed that Australia would win silver, however the power of the United States team emerged and they raced away to finish second.

In 2002 at Salt Lake City, Steven at his fourth Games won Australia’s first Winter Olympic gold medal. In the men's 1000m the Queenslander took advantage of favourable circumstances. In the quarter and semi-finals, two competitors fell and the third was disqualified allowing him to sneak through to the final.

In the final, Steven dropped behind early and trailed the rest of the field by almost half a lap as they entered the last turn. A massive collision sent the other four finalists flying. As the only skater left standing, Steven crossed the finish line first and was awarded the gold medal.

Russian-born Tatiana Borodulina was Australia’s best performing skater at Vancouver 2010 although she fell short of the medals. She reached final B in both the women's 1000m and 1500m, with her best place being seventh in the 1000m.

Deanna Lockett was the best placed Australian short tracker at Sochi 2014, placing 9th in the women’s 1000m and 26th in the 1500m. Pierre Boda placed 30th in the men’s 500m on debut at Sochi.

Four years later Deanna returned to the ice for her second Games experience where she moved through to the semi-final of the women's 1500m, to finish 15th overall. Andy Jung made his Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018, finishing 24th in the men’s 500m and 16th in the 1500m.

Olympic History

Short track Skating was a demonstration sport in 1988 when Great Britain’s Wilf O’Reilly won two gold medals. O’Reilly was of Irish and West Indian descent, an unlikely breeding ground for winter sports.

It was officially introduced to the Olympic program at the Albertville Games in 1992. There was one individual and one relay event for both men and women. At Salt Lake 2002, men’s and women’s 1500m events were added to the program.

Sport Format

Races take place around an oval track (measuring around 111.12m) designed to fit inside an average ice rink. The bends are tight and competitors skate close together while jockeying for position and trying to cover any attempted breaks with the pack. The odd clash and tumble are inevitable so the walls are heavily padded.

At the Olympic Games there are eight short track speed skating events. Although the aim is still to be the first across the line, speed takes a second place to tactics, especially in the heats.

500m and 1000m

These events consist of a qualifying round, a quarter-final round, a semi-final round and two Final rounds (A and B).

There are eight qualifying races of four skaters each. The top two skaters from each race advance to the quarter-finals.

There are four quarter-final races of four skaters each. The top two skaters from each race advance to the semi-final. There are two semi-final races of four skaters each. The first and second placed skaters from each race advance to final A. The third and fourth placed skaters advance to final B. There is one race of four skaters for final A and it determines placings first through fourth. There is one race of four skaters for final B and it determines placings fifth through eighth.

1500m

This event consists of a quarter-final round, a semi-final round, and two final rounds (A and B).

There are six quarter-final races of six skaters each. The top three skaters from each race advance to the semi-final.

There are three semi-final races of six skaters each. The first and second placed skaters from each race advance to final A. The third and fourth placed skaters advance to final B. There is one race of six skaters for final A. The results of this race determines placings first through sixth. There is one race of six skaters for final B. The results of this race determine places seventh through 12th.

Relay

The women's relay is held over 3000m and the men's relay 5000m.

The relay event consists of a semi-final round and two final rounds (A and B). Each team is composed of four skaters. For each race, a skater may be relayed at any time except during the last two laps of the race. The last two laps must be completed by one skater only, except in the case of a fall.

There are two semi-final races with four teams of four skaters each. The first and second placed teams from each race advance to final A. The third and fourth placed teams advance to final B. There is one race of four teams for final A. The results of this race determine places first through fourth. There is one race of four teams for final B. The results of this race determine places fifth through eighth.

Mixed Team Relay

The mixed team relay event consists of a quarter-final round, a semi-final round and two final rounds (A and B). For each race, the teams are composed of four skaters with two men and two women.

There are three quarter-final races with four teams. The first and second placed teams from each race and a maximum of two fastest third place teams qualify for the semi-finals. There are two semi-final races with four teams. The first and second placed teams from each race advance to final A. The third and fourth placed teams advance to final B. The final A race determines placings first through fourth. The final B race determines placings fifth through eighth.

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