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Econometrists: Olympic 1000m must be skated twice

24 November 2008

The Olympic 1000m in Vancouver next year will most probably not get the right winner when the distance is skated only once. Econometrists at the Faculty of Economics and Business state that statistically, there is a significant difference between skating the last inner and skating the last outer curve of the 1000m. The draw to a large extent determines who win the medals on the 1000m. Skaters who do not draw the last inner curve have little chance of winning.

For men, the difference is 0,155 seconds (with an uncertainty of 0,017 seconds) and for women, the difference is even bigger: 0,210 seconds (with a uncertainty of 0,024 seconds). On the basis of these outcomes, the ISU and the IOC will have to decide to skate the 1000m twice, according to econometrist prof.dr. Gerard Sierksma.

Advantage of last inner curve

An explanation for the difference is that skaters starting in the inner lane have the last inner curve, while skaters starting in the outer lane have to take their painful legs to the finish line by way of the long outer curve. In addition, the skater starting in the inner lane can chase the other skater, who usually leads on the last stretch, in order to pick up speed for the last inner curve.

KNSB wants clarity
After prof.dr. Gerard Sierksma and his student Richard Kamst recently published their report on the 500m, they received a (paid) request from the KNSB to start a similar research project on the advantages of the last inner curve of the 1000m. The KNSB and many others have known for a long time that there is a difference. The question to be answered was: what is the difference exactly? The calculated advantages of 0,155 seconds for men and 0,210 for women justify the conclusion that the competition is unfair. The draw influences the results too much.

A Norwegian research project on the 500m, which showed that skating the last outer curve meant an advantage of 0,048 seconds, was reason enough for the ISU and the IOC to have the 500m skated twice. And this advantage is much smaller than the 0,155 and the 0,210 on the 1000m! The KNSB wants to bring the 1000m issue to the attention of the ISU before the Olympic Games.

The Heerenveen World Cup results, November 2008:

(O = start outer lane, I = start inner lane)

Actual results                               Results after correction
1 Davis            O        1:08.99      1     Davis              I      1:08.84
2 Koskela         I         1:09.05     2     Wennemars    I      1:09.16
3 Kuipers          I        1:09.26      3     Koskela          O     1:09.20
4 Wennemars  O       1:09.31       4    Morrison          I      1:09.30
5 Nagashima    I        1:09.32       5    Kuipers           O     1:09.41
6 Groothuis      I        1:09.38       6    Nagashima      O    1:09.47
7 Morrison       O       1:09.45       7    Groothuis         O   1:09.53

Actual results                                 Results after correction
1 Nesbitt           I       1:16.18        1     Nesbitt           O      1:16.40
2 Groves           I       1:16.76        2     Wang             I        1:16.80
3 Wang             O      1:17.01        3     Groves           O      1:17.98
4 Van Riessen   I       1:17.20        4     Gerritsen        I       1:17.34
5 Angermüller   I       1:17.29         5     Rempel          I        1:17.36
6 Gerritsen       O      1:17.55         6     Van Riessen  O       1:17.42
7 Lobysheva     I       1:17.56         7     Rodriguez      I        1:17.50

See also: Clap skates make it unnecessary to run the 500 m twice

Last modified:04 August 2020 08.50 a.m.
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