How long has skating been in the Olympics?
Figure skating is the oldest winter sport, making its debut in 1908. Speed skating was introduced in 1924 and women's events were added in 1960. Short track became an Olympic sport in 1992.
What's the difference between short track and regular speed skating?
For short track races, many racers are skating on the same 111-meter oval (about 121 yards) and the turns are much tighter than on the 400-meter (about 437 yards) speed skating track. In speed skating, two racers go at a time and are racing against the clock. In short track, they're racing against each other.
The skates are also different. Short track skaters use skates with blades firmly affixed to the boot. Speed skaters use clap skates, where there is a hinge at the front of the blade and the back of the blade is not attached to the skate.
Speed skating coach Andrey Zhuikov, who coaches at Midway Speed Skating Club in St. Paul and worked with Olympian Anna Ringsred in Duluth, says short track is much more unpredictable. "Coming in at high speed at tight corners is very difficult and exciting to watch," said Zhuikov.
How about figure skating -- what's the difference between ice dancing and pairs?
Basically, pairs skaters do jumps and throws, while ice dancing doesn't. They both have lifts, but ice dancing does not allow lifts over the head.
How are they scored?
All events have the same program component scores, choreography, interpretation, skating, skills, transitions, and execution. These are judged on a scale from 1-10. There is also a GOE score (grade of execution) for each element, ranging from -3 (if you fall) to +3.
Minnesota figure skating coach Lorie Charbonneau says she'll be watching for "spins that are really fast, jumps that are high, solid landings and personality."
How do they prepare the day of?
Charbonneau says the skates will be sharpened before they leave home, but the U.S. team will also bring their own sharpener with them. Coaches will also carry honing stones in their pockets for last-minute touch-ups.
Minnesota's Olympic skaters:
Maria Lamb was born in St. Paul and grew up in River Falls, Wis.; competing in speed skating
Anna Ringsred was born and raised in Duluth; competing in speed skating
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- Find more: Your guide to the 2014 Winter Olympics