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Speed skating Equipment and History

   

Equipment

   

History

Armband colours

Skaters in the outer lane wear a red armband and skaters on the inner lane wear a white armband.

Blade

The part of the blade that comes in contact with the ice forms a straight line. Men's speed skating blades are generally 42-46 cm long. The longer the blade, the faster the skate up to a point where length would become an obstacle. The underside of the blade is only about 1mm thick.

Glasses

Glasses protect skaters' eyes from the wind and ice chips. The lens reduces glare and improves visibility of the track.

Clap skate

Unlike conventional skates, the heel of the clap-skate blade is not attached to the boot, and the toe of the blade is affixed to the boot with a hinged apparatus. At the end of each stride, as the skater picks up the skate, the blade briefly disconnects from the heel of the boot, thereby keeping the blade on the ice longer and increasing the skater's pushing power. When the blade has fully extended, a spring mechanism mounted on the front of the boot snaps the blade back up to the boot, resulting in the clapping sound that gives the skate its name.

Racing suit

Skaters wear skin-tight racing suits with hoods to decrease air resistance. Racing suits must conform to the natural shape of the skater's body. Insertion or attachment of forms or devices to create a different shape is not permitted.