The Thrill and Threat of Short Track Speed Skating


short track_NYT
Screen Capture from New York Times video.

They skate at speeds up to 40 miles per hour with 42-cm razor-sharp blades on their feet. And when you’re coming around a curve at high speed, and you lose your edge and go flying, your feet often go up in the air.

“Everything is neck to neck, and everybody is side by side. You have to be ready and prepared for anything and anybody coming by you.”

Short track speed skating, an event in which skaters fly around a short 110-meter track is an exhilarating event – speed junkies definitely invited. What is called NASCAR on ice, short track speed skating is for speed junkies. To get a sense of the thrill, here is a great short video from the New York Times.

But part of the thrill is the risk, the danger of injury. Case in point is J. R. Celski, a 19-year-old up-and-comer who was priming fro the Vancouver Olympics. He was competing in a race he did not have to, turned a corner, lost control, his right blade slashing through muscle in his left leg, just below the knee, blood streaming onto the ice. Here is Celski describing the accident: