Short Track skaters often describe the complex love-hate relationship they have with their sport. The sometimes desperately cruel twists of fortune
Short Track Speed Skating is in Kazuki Yoshinaga’s blood – it’s just that he hasn’t always been aware of it.
The last time Arianna Fontana took to the ice in anger it was the final of the Ladies’ 1000m at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Many of the athletes competing at this weekend’s ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Salt Lake City have travelled thousands of miles to be in Utah. Not so Maame Biney, who lives just 10 minutes up the street from Utah Olympic Oval.
A close-season trip to the Netherlands has given Canada’s Kim Boutin back her Short Track mojo, and may provide the impetus she needs to turn top-level silver into gold.
The world of a top Short Track speed skater is one of seemingly endless travel – living out of suitcases and competing in numerous different countries every year.
There’s probably only one reason why Hwang Dae Heon isn’t the reigning men’s ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Champion right now – and that is Hwang Dae Heon himself.
Last season, the Belgian Short Track Speed Skating squad benefited from what might seem like the skating equivalent of winning the lottery. In an unorthodox partnership with a country that is often considered a fierce sporting rival, the Netherlands, the decision was made to effectively merge the two nations’ squads.
Short Track Speed Skating might be considered one of the newer Winter sports –the first edition of its World Championships took place in 1976, and the sport was added to the Olympic program officially in 1992 – but people have actually been enjoying the thrills and spills of the event for well over a century.
It was no surprise when, in May of this year, China’s four-time Olympic champion Wang Meng was given the responsibility of leading her country’s national Speed Skating squads to glory in the Beijing 2022 Games.
For a moment at the 2019 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, it looked like Ren Ziwei, the 22-year-old Chinese skater, was going to win one of the oddest gold medals in the sport since Steven Bradbury took the 2002 Olympic title in the men’s 1000m due to a pile-up.
Not many Olympic champions have a Hollywood film made about their lives. But not many Olympic champions have a story to tell quite like that of Steven Bradbury. The Australian has packed more than most into his 45 years.
There is bad news for Choi Min Jeong’s opponents next season. “I am feeling great at the moment,” says the quietly-spoken Republic of Korea skater from her training base in Seoul. “I’m currently doing a lot of core training and running. I’m really looking forward to the next season.”
Even in a season crammed full of spectacular highlights, the race in which the Hungarian Men’s 5000m Relay team smashed the world record after 45 laps of thrilling competition stands out as a perfect illustration of Short Track Speed Skating at its very best.
Marianne St-Gelais was a bright light in the world of Short Track Speed Skating, and not just because she was so fast. The Quebec skater was undeniably competitive – and sometimes looked unbeatable over 500m, her favorite distance – and also incredibly popular. In the world of sport, many athletes like to look unreadable, wearing a serious ‘game face’ at all times. Not St-Gelais: she was always laughing, joking and making others have a good time, too.