The finer details of short track speed skating at Lausanne 2020

Everything you need to know about short track speed skating ahead of the Youth Olympic Games this January.

By Michael Hincks ·

Short track speed skating is as thrilling as it is frantic.

The start is crucial, while every tight corner can provide a pivotal moment when determining the winner.

First across the finish line wins, but there’s a lot that can go wrong over 500 or 1000 metres.

At Lausanne 2020, there will be golds on offer in the men’s and women’s 500m and 1000m.

There will also be the Mixed NOC Relay, and you can scroll down to find out more about each event which will be shown live on Olympic Channel in January.

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How to watch short track speed skating at Youth Olympic Games

Olympic Channel will stream 300 hours of action from the 13 days of competition in Lausanne 2020 with a dedicated Winter YOG channel available on, YouTube and connected devices such as Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android TV and Roku.

There will be an action-packed daily live show featuring news, highlights, trending stories and interviews in a fun and interactive format streamed on Facebook, Twitter and, plus a daily Olympic Channel Podcast featuring insightful interviews with personalities from across the Olympic world.

Fans can also follow Olympic Channel's coverage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn more about the event, while a full schedule of events - including online streaming details can be found here.

Short track speed skating location and dates

The short track speed skating takes place at the Malley icerink from January 18-22 at Lausanne 2020. (Scroll down for full schedule)


9 - 22 Jan 2020

Lausanne 2020 | Youth Olympic Games


The finer details

Skated on a 60x30m ice rink, the very specific 111.12m oval track means there are less than five ferocious laps in the 500m races.

That equates to just nine turns in a race that lasts under a minute, and therefore it is essential to get an advantageous position from the start.

Skaters morph into sprinters when taking off, and those seven or so steps in under three seconds play a crucial part going into the first corner.

With competitors just centimetres apart while racing at speeds reaching 50km/h, collisions are frequent.

As a result, there are strict rules in place. Defy them, and you could face disqualification.

Collisions and falls are frequent in short track speed skating

What can lead to a disqualification?

The constant jockeying for position can result in a variety of penalties. Skaters risk disqualification if they impede a competitor by intentionally blocking, pushing or tripping them.

Skaters must not travel outside the designated track, nor can they alter their course when heading for the finish line. They must remain straight from the final corner and not veer off to block an opponent from passing.

As a result, taking the inside line is key, as those wishing to overtake must take a wider line.

There is a referee and assistant referees who determine whether an infraction has taken place.

A restart can be called, while the officials also watch out for a false start, of which each skater can only commit once before disqualification.

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How do the 500m and 1000m competitions work?

After qualification, both the men’s and women’s 500m and 1000m competitors feature four quarter-finals with four skaters in each heat.

The first and second-placed skaters reach semi-finals A and B. The third and fourth-placed skaters reach semi-finals C and D.

From there, the first and second-placed skaters from semi-finals A and B reach Final A – where the medals are decided.

Before that takes place, the third and fourth-placed skaters from semi-finals A and B compete in Final B, the first and second-placed skaters from semi-finals C and D race in Final C, and the third and fourth-placed skaters from semi-finals C and D race in Final D.

What is the Mixed NOC Relay?

Eight teams comprising of four skaters – all from different nations – compete in the Mixed NOC Relay.

The 3000m relay race follows the sequence of woman, man, woman, man.

Starting with the semi-finals, the first and second-placed teams from both heats will reach Final A and have a chance to win gold.

The third and fourth-placed teams compete in Final B.

Short track speed skating schedule at Lausanne 2020

Saturday, January 18

11:00 - 14:30 - Women's/Men's 1000m

Monday, January 20

13:00 - 16:00 - Women's/Men's 500m

Wednesday, January 22

10:00 - 11:15 - Mixed NOC Relay