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Skating the Fast Track



Skating the Fast Track
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.75

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    mythology, demolition, derby, intensity, tremendous, demonstration, competitive, racer, apollo, focus, baton, momentum, spills, meters, history, racing
     content words:    In Olympic, Apolo Ohno, Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, Rusty Smith, Few Americans, Winter Games, South Korea, American Cathy Turner, Winter Olympic Games


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Skating the Fast Track
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Apollo was the son of Zeus in Greek mythology. In Olympic history, Apolo made a name for himself as a speed skater. Apolo Ohno took home two medals from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned a gold and a silver in short track speed skating. He won the 1,500 meter race. He was second in the 1,000 meter race. Rusty Smith won a bronze medal for placing third in the 500 meter race. Few Americans have ever won medals in this event. At the 2006 Olympics, Apolo Ohno again won the gold medal, and Rusty Smith again won the bronze. Apolo Ohno returned for the 2010 Olympics, winning another silver and two bronze medals.
 
2     Short track speed skating is rough. The ice track is an oval just 364 feet (121 1/3 yards) long. Four to six competitors race at the same time. They race as fast as they can around the oval. They will try to bump other competitors out of their way. Very few races end with all of the competitors still standing. The racers fall and slide into the walls. When they fall, they usually trip up other competitors. A racer has to be tough and fast to win the race.
 
3     Short track racing has been taking place since the 1800s. The event was given as a demonstration at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Canada. It was not recognized as an Olympic sport until 1992 in Albertville. Canadian skaters have dominated the men's short track from the beginning. China, South Korea, and Japan made their mark in the 2002 Olympics, taking home two gold medals each. American Cathy Turner won the gold twice for the 500 meter events, once in 1992 and again in 1994.

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