Australia’s growing contingent of short track speed skaters will compete at Gangneung Ice Arena at PyeongChang 2018.
The world’s best 120 short track speed skaters will contest eight events in front of 12,000 enthralled spectators at the Gangnueng Olympic Park. Men and women will complete in the individual 500m, 1000m and 1500m events, plus a 3000m female team relay and 5000m male team relay.
Athletes to watch: Australia’s two Sochi 2014 representatives Deanna Lockett and Pierre Boda will be vying for their second Games experience at PyeongChang 2018. Boda, who finished 30th in the 500m on debut, placed 10th in the 1000m at the Olympic Test Event in December 2016 before being selected as one of 30 athletes to represent Australia at the Sapporo 2017 Asian Winter Games.
Lockett, who placed 9th in the women’s 1000m and 26th in the 1500m at Sochi, matched her best-ever World Cup placing of fourth in the 1000m at the Dresden 2017 World Cup. She was selected as the Opening Ceremony flag bearer for Sapporo 2017, before wrapping up the season with a world ranking of 18th.
Looking to make their Olympic debuts at PyeongChang include fellow Sapporro 2017 Australian athletes Alex Bryant and Andy Jung. Jung very narrowly missed out on Sochi 2014 after he went head-to-head with his teammate and friend Boda in a tense ‘best of three’ skate-off, to which Boda won on the third skate. Up-and-coming skater Bryant set a new Australian 1000m record at the 2017 Salt Lake City World Cup, which also saw him secure his best ISU World Cup placing of 17th.
Qualification, Nomination & Selection
Australia will be aiming to qualify 2 men and 1 woman in Short Track Speed Skating at PyeongChang 2018. Qualification will be based on achieving quota places at 4 ISU sanctioned World Cup events which will be finalised on December 10, 2017. For the full details on qualification click here>>>
If an athlete has qualified then they will be eligible to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection. For the full details on nomination to the Australian Olympic Winter Team click here>>>
Competition Format & Events
Races take place around an oval track (measuring 111.12m) designed to fit inside an average ice rink. The bends are tight and “short trackers” skate close together counter-clockwise jockeying for position and trying to cover any attempted breaks with the pack. The odd clash and tumble are inevitable so the walls are heavily padded.
At the Olympic Games there are eight short track speed skating events. Although the aim is still to be the first across the line, speed takes a second place to tactics, especially in the heats.
The individual 500m and 1000m events has 32 participants, and the 15000m events has 36. Races feature four skaters at a time in a mass start. For the 500m and 1000m there are heats, quarterfinals, semifinals and an A and B final. The A final determines the medals and the B final positions 5 -8. For the 1500m there are heats, three semifinals and an A and B final.
A ladies’ 3000m relay team or men’s 5000m relay team comprises four members plus a reserve who can substitute in any heat or final. In general, skaters contest one and a half laps apiece in the relay and take multiple turns on the ice in any order. Changeovers can occur anywhere on the course by touch or push. There are eight teams in the relays contesting two semifinals and the top two teams in each advance to the final.
Australia and Olympic Short Track Skating
Australia has a great record in short track speed skating. At Lillehammer 1994, Australia won its first Winter Olympic medal with a bronze in the 5000m relay. The quartet of Richard Nizielski, Steven Bradbury, Andrew Murtha and Kieran Hansen made history when they finished behind Italy and the United States in the final.
In 2002 in Salt Lake City, Bradbury at his fourth Games won Australia’s first Winter Olympic gold medal. In the 1000m the Queenslander took advantage of favourable circumstances. In the quarter and semi-finals, two competitors fell and the third was disqualified allowing him to sneak through to the final.
In the final, Bradbury dropped behind early and trailed the rest of the field by almost half a lap as they entered the last turn. A massive collision sent the other four finalists flying. As the only skater left standing, Bradbury crossed the finish line first and was awarded the gold medal.
Russian-born Tatiana Borodulina was Australia’s best performing skater at Vancouver 2010 although she fell short of the medals. She reached the B finals in both the 1000m and 1500m, with her best place being seventh in the 1000m.
Deanna Lockett was the best placed Australia short tracker at Sochi 2014, placing 9th in the women’s 1000m and 26th in the 1500m.
Pre-PyeongChang AUS Tally
5 (days 1, 4, 8, 11, 13)
Gangneung Ice Arena
- Medal Events
8 (8 gold, 8 silver, 8 bronze)
- Total Athletes
120 (60 men & 60 women)
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