Everything you need to know about the short track 2018/2019 season

Olympic champions and upcoming stars return on the ice as World Cup action gets underway on 2 November in Calgary, Canada.

Olympic champions and next-gen challengers are back on the ice for the new ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating season starting in Calgary, Canada from 2-4 November.

PyeongChang 2018 gold medallists Wu Dajing (China, 500m), Suzanne Schulting (Netherlands, 1000m), Samuel Girard (Canada, 1000m), Lim Hyo-jun (South Korea, 1500m), and Choi Min-jeong (South Korea, 1500m) are all sharpening their blades for the season ahead.

The World Cup short track season is here!

The World Cup short track season is here!

No Arianna Fontana

Italian 500m Olympic champ and eight-time medallist Arianna Fontana will not skate in Calgary.

Fontana will instead focus on the European Championships in January 2019 and the World Championships in March 2019.

That means a window of opportunity for Dutch skater and PyeongChang silver medallist Yara van Kerkhof, or maybe a chance for Canadian Kim Boutin to delight her home crowd.

The 23-year-old took silver in the 1000m and two bronze medals at 500m and 1500m at the Winter Games in Korea and looks a prime candidate to take that step further up the podium.

Young skaters will be keen to prove they have what it takes at the beginning of this new four-year Olympic cycle.

Keep an eye on 18-year-old rising star Maame Biney, the first ever African-American to make the U.S. short track team.

Biney was tipped to be the breakout star of the PyeongChang Games, and while that didn't really happen, her infectious smile and talent won over many.

Fastest man on ice

500 metres, 39.58 seconds.

That was the Olympic and world record set by Wu Dajing at PyeongChang. He had already broken it in qualifying, before lowering it again in the final.

Wu won China's only gold medal in the sport at the Winter Olympics in South Korea and is keen to continue flying the flag.

"I hope I can keep this record forever, or maybe break it again."

China's 24-year-old champion will have to be at his best in Canada, with both the silver and bronze medallists from that PyeongChang 500m final, Hwang Dae-heon and Lim Hyo-jun, also competing.

Pride of Canada

Triple Olympic champion Charles Hamelin, fellow gold medallist Samuel Girard, and Kim Boutin headline the home team packed with both youth and experience.

Hamelin's gold medals came in 500m and the 5000m relay in Vancouver 2010, as well as the 1500m from Sochi 2014, and he has much to pass on to the next generation.

Charles Hamelin at the 2018 ISU World Short Track speed skating Championships in Montreal. Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Charles Hamelin at the 2018 ISU World Short Track speed skating Championships in Montreal. Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY SportsCharles Hamelin at the 2018 ISU World Short Track speed skating Championships in Montreal. Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The heir to Hamelin's throne is Samuel Girard who has already tasted Olympic glory with gold in the 1000m at PyeongChang and at just 22 he's hungry for more.

Don't be surprised to see Girard bring joy to home fans with multiple medals.

Gangneung Style

Wild celebrations were the order of the day in Gangneung City during the Games as the South Koreans became national heroes in PyeongChang.

Choi Min-jeong was already one, having won the 2015, 2016, and 2018 short track world championships.

But two Olympic gold medals in front of adoring fans have made her a household name in Korea.

“It was the biggest dream of mine for four years, I can’t put it into words,” Choi said after the 1500m race. “I am so proud of it. Physically I am so burned out but inside I am so happy, so proud of my whole country.”

The 1500m gold medal and a stunning performance in the 3000m short track relay had home fans on their feet.

Elise Christie's return

Elise Christie doesn't give up easily.

Sochi 2014 wasn't easy, as Christie was disqualified from her events there.

The 28-year-old British skater did bounce back from Sochi disappointment by becoming the first British woman to win a world title.

But there was no Olympic fairytale for Christie in PyeongChang either, as she crashed out of all three races.

Christie has overcome injuries and is feeling like her old self again, determined to prove doubters wrong in this new season.

Hungary's Liu Dynasty

The Hungarian relay team set a new Olympic record in the 5000m event at PyeongChang and three of four members will be present in Calgary.

Brothers Shaoang Liu and Sándor Liu Shaolin make up half of that team and will look to continue their amazing story.

Short Track World Cup Calendar 2018/19

Here are all the ISU Short Track World Cup events awaiting fans this season:

  • Calgary, Canada, 2-4 November 2018
  • Salt Lake City, USA, 9-11 November 2018
  • Almaty, Kazakhstan, 7-9 December 2018
  • Dresden, Germany, 1-3 February 2019
  • Torino, Italy, 8-10 February 2019 w

Two big dates coming up on the short track calendar are:

  • European Championships in Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 11-13 January 2019
  • World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, 8-10 March 2019

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