Speed skating is a competitive form of ice skating in which the competitors race each other on skates. It is also a lifetime fitness sport for individuals of all ages.
Speed Skating provides both cardiovascular and aerobic benefits as well as improving muscle strength, balance, and coordination.
The sport was established at Special Olympics in 1977 and has increased in numbers since it was introduced. No wonder it’s called a ”lifetime sport for individuals of all ages”.
In 2011, 14 496 Special Olympics athletes competed in speed skating events hosted by 48 Special Olympics programs. The East Asia Region of Special Olympics had the most athletes competing in speed skating with a total number of 9 664 athletes.
Speed skating competitions covers distances from 25 meter straightaway to 3 000 meter races. The competitions and distances are designed in a way that makes it possible for athletes of different performance levels to participate.
At Special Olympics Sweden Invitational Games 2020 and Special Olympics World Winter Games 2021 athletes will compete in the following events:
• Category 1: 111 meter race, 222 meter race, 333 meter race, 500 meter race, 1500 meter relay
• Category 2: 333 meter race, 500 meter race, 777 meter race, 1000 meter race, 1500 meter relay
• Category 3: 777 meter race, 1000 meter race, 1500 meter race, 1500 meter relay
The rules are somewhat modified to give each skater a chance to do his/her best. The starter is for instance allowed to give the skaters a ample time to assume a balanced position after taking their marks, starting the sequence over if any skater is off-balance, not holding the skaters too long after the set signal, and starting the race over if a skater is interfered with or falls before the first apex block after the starting line.