Short track 101: Glossary

Learn the lingo of short track at the 2022 Winter Olympics. (Imagn)

Blocks

Barriers placed on the track indicating the boundaries around which athletes must skate. The athletes are allowed to skim the surface of the ice inside the blocks with their fingertips for balance, if necessary.

Burn out

A competitive strategy in which one skater takes the lead quickly and sets a fast pace in order to tire out other skaters.

Charging the Block

Passing on the inside of the congested area just as the skaters make a turn. Experienced skaters will not let anyone sneak by on the inside, and will try to force the skater to back off or turn wide.

Cornering Technique

A maneuver in which one arm is swung diagonally to sustain balance and rhythm, while the other arm is swung to obtain maximum speed, or held behind the back to conserve energy. This technique is used to maximize speed and control while negotiating corners.

Crossover

A step used by skaters to negotiate the curves, involving crossing the outer foot over the inner to counter centrifugal force and help maintain speed and balance.

Cross-Tracking

When a skater improperly crosses the path of another skater.

Exchange

The changeover between teammates in a relay event. This is usually a touch, or a push, as one skater tries to transfer his momentum to the next skater.

False start

Starting before the gun sounds to start the race. Each competitor is allowed one false start, and is disqualified after a second.

Finish

A technique in which the skater swings both arms diagonally across the body to increase or sustain momentum.

Heats

Individual races which narrow down the field of skaters. Heats can have up to six skaters, with the top two finishers from each heat advancing to the next round.

Right of Way

The lead skater has the right of way, and the passing skater is responsible for avoiding body contact.

Shifting the Track

The track markers on the curves are moved after each race and a thin layer of water is spread to smooth out grooves in the ice. 

Straightaway

A technique in which the skater assumes a crouch position and holds one or both hands tightly behind his or her back in order to reduce air resistance and increase aerodynamics. The skater might swing an arm back and forth to achieve even greater momentum.

Track Mark

Seven markers on the ice that indicate the curve; skating inside the track markers will result in disqualification.