US Speedskating is offering short-track skaters a completely new way to interact and participate in the sport.
Within a new virtual talent search called the Short-Track Challenge, US Speedskating is inviting every skater from across the country - regardless of experience - to record and upload videos of a simple Short-Track workout. The event will help coaches see and interact with every skater who participates in the live virtual event, making talent identification easier for the coaches and being discovered more realistic than ever for the athletes.
A major goal of the Short Track Challenge - besides discovering possible Olympians - is to give speed skaters of all ages a chance to compete with other skaters in their divisions and discover new opportunities in the sport. With seven events for different age groups, athletes new to the sport or competing in retirement can upload videos and become a part of Team USA's network.
The Short Track Challenge is one of two ways that USA Speedskating coaches are using virtual events to discover new athletes from across the country. The other option, the US Speedskating Challenge, offers the most accessible way for short-track and long-track skaters to be seen by their Olympic team. Both events are free and can be submitted to from anywhere so there is no payment or travel necessary to participate.
How To Participate In The Short Track Challenge?
The seven different challenges are created for each of the different divisions created by US Short Track Speed Skating. The divisions are organized by different age groups, so check below to see which Challenge to participate in:
- Skaters ages 7 -10, head to the Junior E Short Track Challenge.
- Skaters ages 11 -12, head to the Junior D Short Track Challenge.
- Skaters ages 13 - 14, head to the Junior C Short Track Challenge.
- Skaters ages 15 - 16, head to the Jr B Short Track Challenge.
- Skaters ages 17 years, head to the Junior A Short Track Challenge.
- For older adult skaters, head to the Senior Short Track Challenge or Masters Short Track Challenge.
For more information on which division you fit into, read:
Each of these challenges feature the same three requirements that you can complete and record at your local rink. Only the distances are different between the different divisions, so you can participate together with friends or family and upload each of your time trials to the corresponding challenge.
The first activity in each Challenge is timed lap from a Standing Start on an 85m track for the Junior E division and an 111m track for the Junior D division up to the Masters and Senior divisions.
- From the second you start, time your lap to the nearest hundredth of a second and submit it in the space available.
The second activity in each Challenge is a timed lap with a Flying Start on a 111m track.
- As soon as you cross the start line, time your lap to the nearest hundredth of a second and submit it in the space available.
After you submit your videos for the Standing Start and Flying Start laps, head off the ice and remove your skates to perform the last two activities. The first is a Standing Long Jump to show Team USA coaches how explosive you can be. To perform the Standing Long Jump, find a starting line on a flat surface and then:
- Stand with feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart and your toes behind the starting line.
- Jump forward as far as you can and land using both feet.
- Remain at the landing spot until a measurement can be taken by a parent, coach, or teammate. Measurements should be taken - in inches - from the starting line to the back of the athlete's heels at the landing spot.
- Submit your results to the Challenge in the space provided. Two to three attempts at the Standing Lung Jump should be made to get the best possible result.
After you perform the Standing Long Jump, the last activity to record is a Floor Plank - to showcase an athlete's core strength and endurance. To complete the floor plank, find a flat surface and then:
- Lay flat on the floor, then rise off the ground - with your back supported by the elbows and forearms and legs supported by the toes.
- Hold yourself up in a straight and level line from the head to the heels with the head facing down.
- Have a parent or teammate start a stopwatch as soon as you you get into position. Hold the plank for as long as you can and stop the timer when the position is no longer held.
- Submit your time in seconds in the Challenge.
After an athlete participates in these activities, their video uploads and questionnaire answers will be visible for USA Short track coaches to review and evaluate. Athletes who stand out to the coaches could be contacted to try out for the team in person. From there, the athlete could begin training for international competitions representing Team USA.
To participate in the US Speedskating Short Track Challenge for yourself or to share it with someone who would be interested, you can access their event HERE.