Kind of sport
After the Olympic demonstration of short track skating in Calgary in 1988, it became officially recognized as an Olympic sport. In Albertville '92, a limited short track programme was tentatively held. Individually, the men skated the 1000 metres, and as a national relay team, they skated the 5000 metres. The women did the 500 metres race as individuals and the 3000 metres as a national relay team. Since 1994, there has also been an individual 1000 metres event for women and an individual 500 metres event for men added to the programme. Short track competitions are held on a 111.12 metre long rink. The curves are marked with blocks and there are cushions placed against the boarding of the rink. Because of the shortness of the rink and the sharpness of the curves, the skates have been modified. The blade of the left skate is placed more on the outside (left) whereas the blade on the right skate has been moved more to the inside. With these modifications, the skater can take on the curves with an exceptionally mean lean, sometimes even touching the ice with his/her left hand. With the team competitions, the skaters relieve each other by giving their team mates a push. The small crowded rink, the various relays and the inevitable spills often provide a very spectacular event.