2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Short Track Speed Skating returns for another exhilarating season this weekend, November 2-4, with the ISU World Cup Short Track in Calgary, Canada. To mark the beginning of the season the ISU the launched its #OneHandDown campaign, which aims to put athletes in the spotlight and bring fans closer to the action.
The weekend’s event will be the first of five World Cup events, in a season that will also feature the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships, ISU Junior World Short Track Speed Skating Championships and the sport’s showpiece, the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.
After a fascinating 2017/18 term, culminating in a thrilling program at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, there will be many questions on the lips of fans of the sport.
Ziwei Ren (CHN) and Dae Heon Hwang (KOR) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Foremost among them: can the Republic of Korea heroes of the ice maintain their dominance of Short Track, or will the new wave of challengers from China, Canada, Europe and beyond, who did so well at the Olympics, start to gain the upper hand?
Choi Minjeong (KOR)2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
In the Ladies’ racing, 20-year-old Choi Minjeong (KOR) remains a towering presence. She has won three of the past four overall World Championships titles, notched up multiple World Cup medals, and left the Olympic Games in her homeland with two golds around her neck, for the 1500m and 3000m Relay.
Elise Christie (GBR) 2017©International Skating Union (ISU)
So who can challenge Choi in her quest for supremacy? Don’t bet against Elise Christie (GBR). The Scottish Skater may have had another Olympic Games to forget but she is one of the few racers who has broken Choi’s deadlock over recent years, winning the 2017 World Championships. On form, Christie is a physical match for anyone.
Suzanne Schulting (NED) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Dutch Skater Suzanne Schulting (NED), invigorated by winning 1000m Olympic gold, should also challenge, while Kim Boutin (CAN) won a silver and two bronzes in PyeongChang, and will always threaten podium finishes. The Chinese squad are usually a force to be reckoned with. Headed by Kexin Fan, 2014 Olympic 1000m silver medalist, five times World 500m and Team Relay champion, the young team will be aiming for podium finishes this season.
The Men’s field lacks a single dominant figure, which should make for some close racing and varied results.
Lim Hyo-jun (KOR) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Again, the Republic of Korea is a powerhouse: while Seo Yi-ra (KOR), 2017 World Champion, is absent, competing will be Lim Hyo-jun (KOR), who won Olympic gold in the 1500m, and the extremely promising Hwang Dae Heon (KOR), who picked up the overall bronze at the 2018 World Championships, aged just 18.
Wu Dajing (CHN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Wu Dajing (CHN), who won 500m gold at the Olympics and it two time World 500m and Team Relay Champion, is likely to continue his excellence over the shorter distance.
Add in Shaoang Liu (HUN) and his brother Sandor Liu Shaolin (HUN), who won silver at the 2018 World Championships – who were part of an Olympic gold medal-winning relay team – and it’s a truly excellent field.
Any others to watch? Look out for the juniors: Kim Ji Yoo (KOR), Courtney Lee Sarault (CAN) and Maame Biney (USA) have all been catching the eye in the Ladies’ field, while Lee Juneseo (KOR) looks ready to make the step up in the Men’s.
Maame Biney (USA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
This weekend’s racing, at the Olympic Oval, Calgary, will feature 500m, 1000m and 1500m races for both genders. There will be a 3000m Ladies’ Relay, 5000m Men’s Relay, and a new, 2000m Mixed Gender Relay, which will make its Olympic debut at the Beijing 2022 Games. World Cup points will be scored, determined by finish.
Events will be live streamed on the ISU Skating Channel (geo blocking may apply in certain territories) and for the first time ever, live streams will be available in certain territories on social media platforms, follow us on social media to find out more.
For further information on Short Track Speed Skating visit https://www.isu.org/short-track.
2018/19 Short Track season: