Dutto, D., & Smith,G. A. (1999). Speed skating temporal characteristics from the 1998 Winter Olympic Games and world championships. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(5), Supplement abstract 617.

Speed skating performances in 5,000 m events at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games and world championships were evaluated, partly because records were broken in most events [which could have been partly caused by the introduction of the "clap-skate".] Lap velocities and reduction in velocity as a percent difference from maximum velocity were determined for each skater.

Strong relationships were found between performance times and velocities in women, but weaker relationships were found for men.

Faster skaters maintained a more constant velocity over the course of the race than did the field of competitors, particularly in women. Women benefited most from a pacing strategy, the medalists being superior to the field. Men tended to drop-off velocity throughout the event more than women.

Implication. Consistent pacing for distance events is very important for women. Superior performers exhibit this feature better than lesser performers. Evenness of pacing for the total distance event is an essential race strategy element in women. However, in men, pacing is also important but the degree of difference between fastest and slowest velocities in the event is greater than for women (probably because of the greater strength/anaerobic capacity that is used in the early stages of an event). Both genders need to attend to evenness of pacing, but women should exhibit less race-pace variation than men.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.