The big oval is going to get a lot more crowded at the Pyeongchang Games.
Speedskating is spicing itself up with the Olympic debut of the mass start, featuring up to 24 skaters racing 16 laps at the same time. That’s quite a change from the traditional time trial format, in which pairs race against the clock.
The sport’s big names — from Shani Davis to Claudia Pechstein to Sven Kramer and Ireen Wust — will toe the starting line in pursuit of more gold to add to their glittering collections.
Speedskating begins Saturday with the women’s 3,000 meters at the Gangneung Oval, which seats 8,000 and is located in the cluster of venues along the coast.