COMMENTARY | Speed skating has been a part of the Winter Olympics since the Winter Games began in 1924.
Besides speed, winning is combination of skill, endurance, strategy, and equipment. There's a reason it's often referred to as "NASCAR on ice."
Leaderboard: The Netherlands has won the most medals (82) in speed skating, edging out Norway, which has won 80 medals. The United States has won the most gold medals (29).
Bonnie Blair: American Bonnie Blair is the only woman to have won Olympic speed skating events at three successive Games, winning gold medals in the 500-meter event in 1988, 1992, and 1994. She also won gold in the 1,000-meter event in 1992 and 1996.
Women on Ice: Women first competed in speed skating in 1960.
Air Resistance: In the men's 500-meter race (about 1/3 of a mile), the International Olympic Committee estimates that air resistance is equivalent to a force of 5 kilograms (about 11 pounds), accounting for nearly 70 percent of the physical resistance that skaters must overcome. Friction between skates and ice accounts for the remaining 30 percent.
G Force: To counter the centrifugal force that they face while going around curves, skaters lean about 45 degrees, resulting in gravitational force equivalence on one leg of up to 90 kilograms (about 200 pounds).
Team Pursuit: The team pursuit category (men's and women's) was added in 2006, bringing the total number of speed skating events to 12.
Apolo Anton Ohno: With eight medals, Ohno is the most decorated American Winter Olympics athlete of all time. Ohno won't be competing in 2014, but he will be joining NBC's coverage of the speed skating events, according to Sports Illustrated.
2010 Asian Invasion: South Korea earns three golds and two silvers at the 2010 Winter Games to top the medal leaderboard and make its mark in the speed skating competition.
Britanny Bowe: Bowe, a 25-year-old Florida native, set the world record in the women's 1,000-meter competition in November. Behind her was fellow American Heather Richardson, another favorite to medal in Sochi. It was the third time the two shared the medal podium during the 2013 season, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Long and Short: In 2010, Latvia's Haralds Silovs became the first athlete in Olympic history to participate in both short track (1,500 meters) and long track (5.000 meters), a feat described by the New York Times as "akin to taking part in diving and swimming."Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Skating
- Speed skating
- Apolo Anton Ohno