US Speedskating



The official rules of speed skating are governing by Speed Skate Canada and the International Skating Union. In addition, our local and regional competitions have some specific rules that have been established by our provincial associations. For those who wish to review the detailed rules, you must consult the Speed Skate Canada handbook. Summarized here are the general rules that pertain to speed skating.

Regarding the rules, in general, common sense prevails. That is, given the number of skaters on a small ice surface, the objective of all the rules is to be as fair as possible for everyone and as safe as possible for everyone. That means: no interference with other skaters, complete the distance assigned, no false starts, no dangerous moves, etc. If you have additional questions regarding the rules, please consult with your coaches.

Here is a summary of the rules:

1. The distances skated are determined by the level of the skaters in a division. The track is 111 m. The start of the race may change for races that have a half-lap in them (eg 500 M is 4.5 laps), but the finish will always be in the same place (the side with the single red line). The cones marking the track are periodically moved to protect the ice and so with the 500, 1500, and 3000 M races, the start line may move to match the cones to keep the distances skated constant.

2. Skaters' numbers must be on both sides of the helmet. The numbers must be readily visible (3 inches high). In some meets, the host club provides helmet covers that must be worn. In other meets, the skaters own assigned number must be on the helmet.

3. All protective gear must be on and bare skin covered or a skater will be disqualified or barred from skating in the race. Skates must be tied and all bolts tight. Equipment must not be removed until the skater has left the ice.

4. Two false starts and a skater is disqualified. The skaters first line up behind the blue line at the start of a race. They then move to the start line on the command "Go to the Start". Once at the start line, they remain relaxed in a standing position until the starter says "Ready". After a pause to allow skaters to take their start position and become still, the gun is fired to start the race. There is generally a pause of 1.5 seconds before the gun is fired and all skaters must be still before the gun is fired. If there is a false start, the starter either fires the gun a second time or one of the referees blows a whistle.

5. If a skater is knocked down by another skater at the start (before the first apex block), they will usually call the start back. However, if a skater falls on their own and does not interfere with another skater, they will let the race continue. If a falling skater interferes with another skater off the start, the race is generally called back. This is a judgement call by the referee and you should never assume the race will be called back.

6. Skaters are not allowed to shoot a leg forward to try and get a skate across the finish line in front of another skater.

7. A skater may knock a cone without being disqualified but if a skater purposefully skates inside the cones marking the curve to try and shorten the track, they will be disqualified. There are track stewards on the ice surface who replace kicked cones. If a cone is missing, that does not give you the right to skate inside the dot marked on the ice.

8. Skaters are not allowed to interfere with other skaters: no pushing, no cutting a skater off (e.g. by cutting inside as they enter a corner), or changing track specifically to block another skater. The former is generally referred to as "impeding" and the latter is referred to as "cross-tracking". A very common error is to try and pass on the inside as you enter the corner, interfering with another skater. Please see the pages on passing for a more detailed explanation.

9. If a skater falls, it is their responsibility to make sure they don't interfere with another skater when getting up and starting to skate again. This means that they have to check behind them for other skaters before getting up or back on the track. If you get up and move in front of another skater.

10. Any unsportsmanlike behavior may also result in disqualification. This may include, but is not limited to, swearing or insulting other competitors or officials, or inappropriate celebration on crossing the finish line. A big smile is the best response on crossing the finish line after a good race.

11. If a skater falls on their own or is taken down in an accidental fashion by another skater, it is simply considered bad luck. However, if a skaters is knocked down or knocked off course as a result of an infraction by another skater, that skater may be advanced from a heat to a final by the referee. This will only happen if the referee has determined that the skater was in a position to be advanced when the infraction occurred.

Early Pioneers

The Dutch were arguably the earliest pioneers of skating. They began using canals to maintain communication by skating from village to village as far back as the 13th century. Skating eventually spread across the channel to England, and soon the first clubs and artificial rinks began to form. Passionate skaters included several kings of England, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon III and German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Early Competition

The first known skating competition is thought to have been held in the Netherlands in 1676. However, the first official speed skating events were not held until 1863 in Oslo, Norway. In 1889, the Netherlands hosted the first World Championships, bringing together Dutch, Russian, American and English teams.


Speed skating appeared for the first time in 1924 at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. Initially, only men were allowed to participate. It was only at the Lake Placid Games in 1932 that women were authorised to compete in speed skating, which was then only a demonstration sport. It was not until the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley that women’s speed skating was officially included in the Olympic programme.

The events almost always follow the European system, which consists of skaters competing two-by-two. At the 1932 Olympic Games, the Americans organised American-style events, i.e. with a mass start. This decision brought about a boycott by many European competitors, which allowed the Americans to win the four gold medals. This system would give birth to short-track speed skating, which was added to the Olympic program in Albertville in 1992.


Armband colors

Skaters in the outer lane wear a red armband and skaters on the inner lane wear a white armband.


The part of the blade that comes in contact with the ice forms a straight line. Men's speed skating blades are generally 42-46 cm long. The longer the blade, the faster the skate up to a point where length would become an obstacle. The underside of the blade is only about 1mm thick.


Glasses protect skaters' eyes from the wind and ice chips. The lens reduces glare and improves visibility of the track.

Clap skate

Unlike conventional skates, the heel of the clap-skate blade is not attached to the boot, and the toe of the blade is affixed to the boot with a hinged apparatus. At the end of each stride, as the skater picks up the skate, the blade briefly disconnects from the heel of the boot, thereby keeping the blade on the ice longer and increasing the skater's pushing power. When the blade has fully extended, a spring mechanism mounted on the front of the boot snaps the blade back up to the boot, resulting in the clapping sound that gives the skate its name.

Racing suit

Skaters wear skin-tight racing suits with hoods to decrease air resistance. Racing suits must conform to the natural shape of the skater's body. Insertion or attachment of forms or devices to create a different shape is not permitted.

Alyson Dudek

There are a lot of beautiful smart female athletes competing in this years Olympics. One in particular is this 5'6", 130 pound, down to earth, Olympic medalists and Wisconsin native.

Stats And Highlights


2007-09 World Junior Short Track Team

2009 U.S. Junior Short Track Championships: Bay City, Mich. - 2nd Overall

2009 World Junior Short Track Championships: Sherbrooke, Canada - 10th Overall

2009 U.S. Short Track Championships: St. Louis, Mo. - 7th Overall

2009 World Short Track Championships: Vienna, Austria - 4th Place Ladies Relay

2009 World Short Track Team Championships: Heerenveen, Netherlands - Bronze medal


2014 Olympic Winter Games, penalty in women's 500m

2010 Olympic Winter Games, 13th in women's 500m

Feb 15 Completed Short Track Ladies’ 1500m-Qualification 4 2:27.899

Alyson Dudek AT&T U Verse
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Katherine Reutter, Alyson Dudek advance in women's 500 meters
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Alyson Dudek delivers anti-bullying message