Host City: Calgary, Canada
Date Started: February 20, 1988
Date Finished: February 25, 1988
Participants: 64 (32 men and 32 women) from 12 countries
Youngest Participant: Joëlle van Koetsveld-van Ankeren (14 years, 266 days)
Oldest Participant: Emmanuel Michon (32 years, 291 days)
Most Medals (Athlete):
Most Medals (Country):
The sport of short-track speed skating, in which skaters compete in packs, rather than in pairs racing the clock, is essentially a variant of the long-track speed skating, which has been held at the Olympics since 1924. It was most popular in North America, and the 1932 Olympic long-track competition was effectively held under short-track rules. However, the sport evolved since, becoming more frequently held on indoor hockey rinks, rather than outdoor 400 m rinks. It was recognized as a separate sport by the ISU in 1967, and the first World Championships (still unofficial at that time) were held in 1976. While initially popular in North America, it soon attracted a following in Asia and Europe.
In 1983, it was decided to add the sport to the program for the 1988 Winter Olympics as a demonstration event. Remarkably, as in long-track skating, the events were staged as a single-distance competition, even though the World Championships are mostly an all-around affair, with the winner decided on points scored in the individual distances. Otherwise, a full program of 10 distances was held. The track, in the Max Bell Arena, was fairly narrow (4.5 m), instead of the more common (6.5 m). The ISU adjusted rink regulations after the Games.
If there had been an allround competition in Calgary, the men’s event would have been won by Wilf O’Reilly, who won both the 500 and 1,000 m. On the women’s side, Canada’s Sylvie Daigle reached the final in all four distances, winning the 1,500 m while placing second in the 1,000 and 3,000 m.