The Olympic 500-m speed skating; the inner–outer lane difference



In 1998, the International Skating Union and the International Olympic Committee decided to skate the 500-m twice during World Single Distances Championships, Olympic Games, and World Cups. The decision was based on a study by the Norwegian statistician N. L. Hjort, who showed that in the period 1984–1994, there was a significant difference between 500-m times skated with a start in the inner and outer lanes. Since the introduction of the clap skate in the season 1997–1998, however, there has been a general feeling that this difference is no longer significant. In this article we show that this is, in fact, the case.