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Speed skating information
A competitive form of ice skating, speed skating, is where competitors race against each other across ice. Nowadays, this is more commonly undertaken on a special track but the origins of speed skating are from outdoors racing across fjords, lakes, rivers or canals.
There are different length races in the speed skating world from sprinting over short distances to the much longer and more gruelling marathon races, which can be up to 200km long in some countries. Races are commonly between two competitors with the exception of team pursuit or tag competitions. Each race requires its own equipment and techniques.
The equipment for this sport is highly specialised, from the ice skates themselves to the aerodynamic body suits that are specially designed to cut drag resistance. With the increase in technological ability in manufacturing equipment, the rules of the game have to be changed accordingly. At present, the rules demand that the suits follow the natural shape of the body rather than more inventively shaped suits which give the wearer an unfair advantage.
The skates themselves are clap skates, which differ from traditional ice skates in that they are hinged to the front of the boot and detach from the heel, and allow the wearer a greater range of movement that the traditional form.