World Cup Series are distinguished based on whether they are held during or outside the Olympic season.
The Olympic Qualification World Cup Series comprises four stages, two of which are always hosted by the continent of the Olympic Games host country, this season Asia. As participation in the Olympics is at stake here, there are more competitors, and the schedule is also different compared to a non-Olympic season, therefore these events last four days.
Eligibility for qualification is awarded to countries. Three individual qualifications and one relay team qualification per distance and per gender, furthermore one mixed relay team qualification per nation can be earned. When determining the quotas in the individual distances, the first, second, and third best places won by the athletes of a country at each World Cup are taken into account, and for all three categories, the points given after the three best results are summed. Countries are ranked and qualifications are awarded based on the scores thus obtained. For each individual distance, the first quota is given to the country with the best score, the second to the one with the second-best score, and so on, provided always that one country can receive up to three quotas. For the 500m and 1000m distances, the best 32 athletes per gender, and for 1500m the best 36 may qualify.
Quotas are allocated in a similar way for the relay teams, however, as one country may earn up to one qualification, the best results of each national team at each World Cup are taken into account, and out of these, the three with the highest points are summed, finally giving a ranking of the countries. Out of the relay teams, the best 8 can qualify in each gender.
To enter the mixed relay competition, a country must earn at least two men’s and two women’s quotas, each of which can be earned either individually or in a relay team. Out of the qualifying nations that have a mixed relay team, the top 12 teams in the World Cup ranking will earn eligibility to enter.
The Olympic judging team is selected from professional judges of the World Cups.
During the World Cup Series outside the Olympic season, participants can demonstrate their skills on three competition days. These events determine the qualifiers for the World Championships and European Championships relay events as well.