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Speed Skating – Short Track
  • Olympic Debut: 02/08/1992

The Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Team

Since the early 1900s, Canada has had a love affair with short track speed skating, producing skaters such as the Queen of Blades, Toronto’s own Lela Brooks, to Olympic gold medallists Sylvie Daigle and Gaétan Boucher.

The athletes of Canada’s Olympic Short Track Speed Skate Team will step on the ice in Russia with a great track record – six Olympic medals and 35 top three placements in 35 World Championships.

Check out the Sochi 2014 Short Track Speed Skating Team

Canada’s team, led by three-time Olympic speed skate champion Charles Hamelin, is looking to surpass the five short track speed skating medals won at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The Canadians are defending gold in the men’s 500m event (Charles Hamelin) and in the men’s 5,000m relay event.

Take a look at where Canada’s Sochi 2014 Short Track Speed Skating athletes call home

Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Rulebook

Short Track Speed Skating Rulebook

Short track speed skating takes place on a 111.12m oval, which is marked on an international-sized ice rink (60m x 30m). The smaller oval means there are tighter turns and shorter straightaways than in long track. Strategy and racing tactics are very important, as the winner is not necessarily the fastest skater, but sometimes the smartest skater.

A Brief History of Short Track Speed Skating

Although short track speed skating was being practiced in Europe at the end of the 19th century, the sport became really popular in Canada and the United States in the early 1900s. During the 1920s and 1930s, crowds would gather at Madison Square Garden in New York City to watch competitions in anticipation of the thrills and spills that come with pack-style racing, which aside from the track size is the major difference between long track and short track speed skating.

The International Skating Union (ISU) recognized short track speed skating as a discipline in 1967. Although it would sanction international competitions in the years that followed, it wasn’t until 1981 that the first official ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships were held in Meudon-la- Forêt, France.

Short track speed skating would be introduced at Canada’s first Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988 where it was one of the most in-demand tickets.

The discipline would make its official Olympic debut four years later at the Winter Olympics in Albertville in 1992, where Canada, the U.S., China and South Korea dominated the speed skating competitions.

A History of Short Track Speed Skating in Canada

In 1854, three British officers raced, from Montréal to Québec City, on St. Lawrence River, in what would become Canada’s first official speed skating race.

In 1887, Canada’s first formal sport association was established - the Amateur Skating Association, which in 1960 became the Canadian Speed Skating Association. In 2000, the association was renamed Speed Skating Canada.

Almost hundred years later, short track speed skating was introduced as an official event at the 1992 Winter Games, where Canada earned three medals. The women’s team won gold in the 3,000m relay event, the men’s team took silver in the men’s 5,000 relay event and Frédéric Blackburn topped it off with another silver in the 1,000m event.

The 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer in1994 meant more Olympic speed skating hardware for Canada. The women’s team captured a silver in the 3,000m relay event; Nathalie Lambert won silver in the 1,000m event and Marc Gagnon bronze in the 1,000m event.

The men’s team took Canada’s first speed skating gold in the 5,000m relay event at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics and also triumphed at the World Championship that year. Éric Bédard grabbed a silver in the 1,000m event.

At Salt Lake City in 2002, Marc Gagnon brought Canada more golden speed skating success with his 500m event win. The men’s team won their first 5,000m relay event, the second gold came during the Vancouver Olympics where Charles Hamelin also won gold in the men’s 500m event.

In Sochi, the Canada’s Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Team will be aiming for six medals across ten events.


1,000m - Men and Women

Consisting of nine laps, strategy comes into play more as the skaters have longer time and distance to make a move. There are four rounds of competition (heats, quarterfinals, semi-finals, finals) in which there are usually four skaters racing at a time.

1,500m - Men and Women

Consisting of 13 and a half laps, this is the most strategic of the individual events. Skaters will often change positions in the race many times with the possibility of a sprint to the finish. There are three rounds of competition (heats, semi-finals, finals) in which there are usually six skaters racing at a time.

500m - Men and Women

Consisting of just four and a half laps, this is the event that generally has the most falls. It is also involves speed and luck more than strategy. There are four rounds of competition (heats, quarterfinals, semi-finals, finals) in which there are usually four skaters racing at a time.

Relay - Men and Women

The men's 5000m event consists of 45 laps while the ladies’ 3000m event consists of 27 laps. Teams compete with four skaters each, but can carry one extra skater which allows for a substitution between the two rounds of competition, semi-finals and finals. There are usually four teams racing at a time, making this the most chaotic looking of the events with 16 skaters on the ice. There is constant moving, with the skaters not racing on the inside of the oval resting, keeping pace or preparing to race. Each skater will race from one to two laps before making an exchange with a teammate by pushing the next skater to maintain momentum and movement. If a skater falls during the race, a teammate may make a tag and continue racing.

Canadian Medallists







GoldAngela Cutrone, Sylvie Daigle, Nathalie Lambert, Annie PerreaultAlbertville 1992Ladies' 3,000m Relay -
GoldÉric Bédard, Derrick Campbell, François Drolet, Marc GagnonNagano 1998Men's 5,000m Relay -
GoldAnnie PerreaultNagano 1998Ladies' 500m -
GoldMarc GagnonSalt Lake City 2002Men's 500m -
GoldÉric Bédard, Marc Gagnon, Jonathan Guilmette, François-Louis Tremblay, Mathieu TurcotteSalt Lake City 2002Men's 5,000m Relay -
GoldCharles HamelinVancouver 2010Men's 500m -
GoldCharles Hamelin, Guillaume Bastille, François Hamelin, Olivier Jean, François-Louis TremblayVancouver 2010Men's 5,000m Relay -
SilverFrédéric BlackburnAlbertville 1992Men's 1,000m -
SilverFrédéric Blackburn, Laurent Daignault, Michel Daignault, Sylvain Gagnon, Mark LackieAlbertville 1992Men's 5,000m Relay -
SilverChristine Boudrias, Isabelle Charest, Sylvie Daigle, Nathalie LambertLillehammer 1994Ladies' 3,000m Relay -
SilverNathalie LambertLillehammer 1994Ladies' 1,000m -
SilverJonathan GuilmetteSalt Lake City 2002Men's 500m -
SilverÉric Bédard, Jonathan Guilmette, Charles Hamelin, François-Louis Tremblay, Mathieu TurcotteTurin 2006Men's 5,000m Relay -
SilverAlanna Kraus, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, Amanda Overland, Kalyna Roberge, Tania VicentTurin 2006Ladies' 3,000m Relay -
SilverFrançois-Louis TremblayTurin 2006Men's 500m -
SilverJessica Gregg, Kalyna Roberge, Marianne St-Gelais, Tania VicentVancouver 2010Ladies' 3,000m Relay -
SilverMarianne St-GelaisVancouver 2010Ladies' 500m -
BronzeMarc GagnonLillehammer 1994Men's 1,000m -
BronzeÉric BédardNagano 1998Men's 1,000m -
BronzeChristine Boudrias, Isabelle Charest, Annie Perreault, Tania VicentNagano 1998Ladies' 3,000m Relay -
BronzeIsabelle Charest, Marie-Ève Drolet, Amélie Goulet-Nadon, Alanna Kraus, Tania VicentSalt Lake City 2002Ladies' 3,000m Relay -
BronzeMarc GagnonSalt Lake City 2002Men's 1,500m -
BronzeMathieu TurcotteSalt Lake City 2002Men's 1,00m -
BronzeAnouk Leblanc-BoucherTurin 2006Ladies' 500m -
BronzeFrançois-Louis TremblayVancouver 2010Men's 500m -
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