The Speed Skating World Cup is a series of international speed skating competitions, organised yearly by the International Skating Union since the winter of 1985-1986.
Every year during the winter, a number of competitions on a number of different distances are held. Skaters can earn points at each competition and the skater who has the most points on a given distance at the end of the series is the winner.
Initially not very popular by skaters nor spectators, the World Cup gradually became more and more popular, and this was of the reasons of the creation of the World Single Distance Championships.
The results on the separate distances in the World Cup ranking are the main qualifying method for the World Single Distance Championships.
The number of races per season per distance varies, but it is usually between five and ten. Ten World Cup titles are awarded every season, five for men (the 500 m, the 1,000 m, the 1,500 m, the combined 5,000 m / 10,000 m, and the team pursuit), and five for women (the 500 m, the 1,000 m, the 1,500 m, the combined 3,000 m / 5,000 m, and the team pursuit).
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