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How Fast Do Olympic Speed Skaters Move on the Ice? Everything You Want to Know

Long-track speed skaters can typically hit over 35 mph, while short-track speed skaters frequently exceed 30 mph.

Athletes must make quick, precise turns while flying around the oval, which is what makes speed in the sport so challenging.

Olympic speed skating is a sport that demands a lot of explosiveness, balance, and endurance.

Here is everything you need to know about how fast speed skaters actually go at the Olympics with only three medal events remaining.

How Fast Do Short Track Speed Skaters Go?

According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), short track speed skaters can reach average speeds of 31 mph, which translates to lap times of less than nine seconds for the short track oval. Many times, viewers wonder why the race starts off so slowly given the top speed. In actuality, the short track athletes must gradually increase their speed, gaining momentum as they round each corner. The start of the race is frequently a mental exercise to see where they can best position themselves in relation to the other competitors.

There are other factors at play in short track racing, of course. The athletes must constantly be aware of their place in the pack and their relative space to other athletes. They can be easily thrown off course by a single slip or slight elbow bump. According to the IOC, no skater has been able to successfully defend their title over the course of the last two Winter Olympics (Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018), with the exception of the Republic of Korea’s 3000m women’s relay team. This is due to the sport’s extreme chaos and the skaters’ constant jostling for position. In fact, the Republic of Korea has had the most success in short track speed skating throughout Olympic history.

How Fast Do Long Track Speed Skaters Go?

According to the IOC, long track speed skaters can reach speeds of up to 35 mph depending on the distance of the race. In some neighborhoods, that is the maximum speed for automobiles. Speed skating is where the Dutch Olympians have a history of dominance, even though South Korea has the most victories in short track.

The IOC observes that long track speed skating has been around for a lot longer than short track. Long track speed skating first appeared in the 13th century, and it has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1924. The first competition was noted in 1676 in the Netherlands, and the first official speed skating competitions took place in Oslo, Norway, in 1863.

Short track was not created until the early 1900s in North America, in the United States and Canada, thanks to skaters who lacked access to 400-meter tracks. Short track speed skating was born as a result of their need to practice on smaller ice rinks. At the Albertville, France, Olympics in 1992, it was formally recognized as an Olympic sport.

These sports do not come without risk due to their high-speed nature. There is a significant chance of collision because many speed skaters are competing at once, all of whom are vying for the best spot on the track. According to the IOC, they are all equipped with razor-sharp blades that are just 1 millimeter thick and measure about 46 centimeters (1.5 feet) in length. Because the sport is so dangerous, most speed skaters take precautions to protect their bodies, which includes wearing helmets, goggles, knee guards, shin guards, neck guards, a cut-resistant suit, and cut-resistant gloves.

Who Are the Fastest Speed Skaters at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

At the 2022 Winter Olympics, there are multiple male and female gold medalists in the different events.

The following athletes won two gold medals and set Olympic records in the Beijing Games:

  • Sweden’s Nils van der Poel in the men’s 5000m and men’s 10000m
  • Netherland’s Irene Schouten in the women’s 5000m and women’s 3000m
How Fast Do Olympic Speed Skaters Move on the Ice Everything You Want to Know
How Fast Do Olympic Speed Skaters Move on the Ice? Everything You Want to Know

The Guinness World Record for Inline Speed Skating

What is the absolute fastest a skater has ever traveled on Earth? We turn to Guinness for this. Not the Irish beverage, but the men with clipboards and stop watches who hand you a tiny certificate.

With a speed of 124.67 kph (77.47 mph) in Teutonia, Brazil in February 2016, Sandro Bovo holds the record for downhill inline skating.

He placed third in the World Cup in 2013 and also won the Italian Championship in 2015.

When you’re next in a car on a motorway (speeding in the UK), look out the window and imagine having wheels on your feet…

Read about Is Ice Skating Hard to Learn? Why?

Who is the Fastest Competitive Speed Skater in the World?

See how inline speed skating and ice speed skating compare by taking a closer look at both.

Depending on when you’re reading this, the answer to this question is “it depends.” You might have noticed a change by the time you read this. Every few years, it seems to change. Do your own bloody research instead of relying on me to keep checking in and updating this page. (just kidding: please enjoy mine… it took a while on a lonely weeknight)

Let’s look at some from the decade of 2010. If you’re reading this is 2030 and I haven’t bothered to update it, let’s say it will be a similar sort of time. They could possibly cut one or two minutes off.

They’re relatively comparable to inline skating and ice skating. Interestingly, they seem to maintain a fairly high speed whether they are running 300 or 10,000 meters, which is remarkable.

Who’s Faster – Ice Skaters Or Inline Skaters?

In 2014, German skater Simon Albrecht completed a 500-meter race in 38.6 seconds on a track. In comparison, Russian skater Pavel Kulizhnikov completed the same race on ice in 33.6 seconds, a full 5 seconds faster. Due to the reduced friction of ice, this makes sense. Though if it had been the other way around I feel people would have said “this makes sense, it’s easier to apply your force on wheels” or something.

It’s interesting to note that Tatsuya Shinhama set the first record for the men’s 500m that day at 33.83 seconds, and Kulizhnikov later clocked a faster time.

So skating on a flat surface is quicker.

Pavel traveled at an average speed of 33.28 mph.

The shorter distance of inline racing on a track, if you’re interested:

300m men, In 2014, Simon Albrecht of Germany completed it in 23 seconds. In 2015, Korean Shin Soyeong set the record for the fastest female time with 25.7 seconds.

What About over a Longer Distance?

Again, ice has it.

10000 meters or as also known, 10 kilometres.

While Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada broke it on the ice in 12 minutes 36 seconds, the record for inline skating was set by the aforementioned Alexis Contin in 13 minutes 46 seconds. This is an average speed of 29.58mph (47.6 kph), which is an astonishing pace to be travelling for 10km. He ran for 12 and a half minutes at that ferocious sprint-like pace. Imagine maintaining a sprint at 90% of your maximum speed for 12 minutes as opposed to, say, 12 seconds.

The Fastest Female Speed Skater in the World

There are quite a few, actually. Here’s some interesting inline skating ones:

Annie Lambrechts of According to Wikipedia, Belgium currently holds the record for skating on inline skates for distances of 20 kilometers, 30 kilometers, and 50 kilometers. Guess when she took these records. Before you were born (possibly), in 1985. She also took home a few individual world titles, seventeen to be exact, between 1964 and 1981.

She completed the 20 k in 32 min 53 sec, the 30 k in 49 min 15 sec, and the 50 k in 1 hr 21 min 21 sec. I believe that this was the same race.

South Korean Shin Soyeong currently holds the record for the fastest time over a shorter distance, completing 300 meters in 25.7 seconds, or an average speed of 26.1 mph (42 kph).

What About Speed on Ice?

Martina Sáblíková is the current holder of the records for the 3 km, 5 km, and 10 km distances in inline skating. Her times are 3 min 52 sec, 6 min 42 sec, and 13 min 48 sec, respectively. Naturally, this doesn’t go as far as Annie Lambrechts at $50,000. Martina traveled at an average speed of 28.9, 27.8, and 27 mph for each.

How Fast Do Speed Skaters Do Marathons?

Simply put, more quickly than the runners. Of course, this is to be expected…

Bart Swings, a Belgian who skates, completes the 49,125-meter marathon distance on the road in 56 minutes and 49 seconds in 2015 in Berlin. In 2017, once more in Berlin, Maira Yaqueline Arias of Argentina accomplished this feat in just over an hour, clocking in at 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 35 seconds. This is about twice as fast as the fastest marathon runners.

Related Questions

Is Skating Faster Than Running?

Yes, it is; the fastest sprinter on Earth cannot compete with the speeds reached by either ice skating or inline skating. They become slightly faster on the flat, but not significantly. Usain Bolt’s astounding speed of 27.8 mph (44.6 kph) on the flat is unheard of considering that both inline skaters and ice skaters frequently reach speeds of 30 mph. I mean, they do have wheels after all… But when it comes to shorter distances like 100m, Bolt can run 100m faster than the fastest inliner can do that distance however…

It’s close, but Bolt would take it…

Watch them run…

Why Do Speed Skaters Wear Tight Clothes?

It would seem obvious to move quickly. To measure the wind resistance of various clothing types, wind tunnel tests are frequently conducted. To determine the best clothing to skate in, they should conduct additional tests, and it appears that tight clothing wins out. Why would you want your skirt to flutter in the wind?

Are Fast Skaters Fast Runners?

A little, but not amazingly. They won’t be as quick as professional sprinters or as proficient as professional long distance runners because they don’t train for that. Due to the fact that skating requires pushing off both forward and outward, the muscles they are using are also different. They’ll simply be quick because of the slight overlap, and if you watch the 100-meter inline sprint above, you can see how similar the two activities are in that they essentially start out by running with wheels on their feet.

Average Roller Skating Speed?

This really depends on who is using the skates, though. In a roller disco, it might only move at 3 mph. or significantly quicker as described above.

Read about How To Roller Skate Perfectly?

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