Short track speed skating was officially introduced to the Olympic programme at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, with one individual and one relay event for both men and women. Additional individual distances were added in 1994, before men’s and women’s 1,500m events joined the programme in 2002. In Sochi, men and women will contest the 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m, while there will also be a 3,000m relay for women and a 5,000m relay for men.
Athletes to watch
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Korea’s teen sensation Suk-Hee Shim, the reigning women’s 3,000m world champion, will also be aiming to make an impact on the Olympic stage.
In the men’s events, 20-year-old Da-Woon Sin, of Korea, will be looking to add to the three world titles he won in 2013, while Canada’s Charles Hamelin will be hoping to defend his 500m Olympic title, as well as challenging for the podium in the 1,000m and 1,500m. The hopes of the host nation are likely to rest on 2013 World Championship silver medallist Victor Ahn, who has gained Russian citizenship after winning four Olympic gold medals for Korea at the 2006 Winter Games.
China’sWang Meng is the most decorated female Olympian in short track speed skating, with four gold, one silver and one bronze medal. The 28-year-old, who has also won 21 gold medals at the World Championships, has won the 500m at the last two Winter Games.
South Korean Lee-Kyung Chun has also won four Olympic gold medals, including 1,000m gold in 1994 and 1998, as well as a 500m bronze medal in 1998.
The USA’s Apolo Anton Ohno remains the most successful short track skater in Olympic history, however, winning eight Olympic medals between 2002 and 2010. His record tally includes 1,500m gold in 2002 and 500m gold in 2006, as well as two silver medals and four bronze medals.
Ohno was also involved in one of the most memorable moments in the history of the sport, which saw Steven Bradbury win Australia’s first Winter Olympic gold medal in 2002. After qualifying for the 1,000m final in fortuitous circumstances, Bradbury found himself off the pace as the race entered its final stages. As his rivals, including gold-medal favourite Ohno, jostled for position on the final corner, they collided and crashed out, leaving Bradbury to cross the line unimpeded and claim an astonishing Olympic gold medal.