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Short Track and Long Track
Speed skating, or speedskating, is a competitive form 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 usually referred to as just "speed skating", while short track speed skating is known as "short track". The ISU, governing body of both ice sports, refers to long track as "speed skating" and short track as "short track skating".
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 style 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.
Racing can be done with individual start, as in long track speedskating, or in time trial races of inline skating, where a maximum of four skaters start at the same time. Skaters are timed, and the times are compared at the end. Races may also be held with a mass start, as is done in marathon ice speed skating, marathon skating, tour skating, short track skating or in most roller skating events. The first skater to cross the finish line wins though there may be a series of eliminating heats, where finishing among the top fraction of the participants is enough to advance in the competition.