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Speed Skating at the 1924 Chamonix Winter Games:

Men's 500 metres

Speed Skating at the 1924 Winter Games: Next Winter Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Chamonix, France
Venue(s): Ice Stadium, Chamonix
Date Started: January 26, 1924
Date Finished: January 26, 1924

Gold: USA Charley Jewtraw
Silver: NOR Oskar Olsen
Bronze: NOR Roald Larsen
FIN Clas Thunberg

Summary

The 500 m was the very first event to be contested in Chamonix, and therefore produced the first Olympic medalist at the Winter Olympics. As the first major international competition of the year, it was difficult to pick a favorite. The Finns had been training in Davos prior to coming to Chamonix, and Clas Thunberg had posted 43.8 there, four tenths slower than Oscar Mathisen's World Record. The American Olympic Team contested metric events at Saranac Lake prior to leaving for Europe, the fastest sprinter being Charley Jewtraw with 46.6. But as an indication of his speed, Jewtraw had also set a new World Record in the 100 yard (9.4) on January 6th. Fastest Norwegian had been Roald Larsen with 44.6 at Frogner, and with Oskar Olsen they had one of the fastest Europeans on their team.

The very first pair in Olympic speed skating history saw Joe Moore of the U.S. paired with Eric Blomgren of Sweden, the former clocking 45.6 as the first Olympic Record. Moore's time went unchallenged until the 11th pair, when Asser Wallenius (44.4 in Davos) stopped the clock at 45 seconds, only to see it improved with 8 tenths by Oskar Olsen in the next race. Defending World Champion Thunberg was unable to beat this time with 44.4. Two North Americans contested pair 15, Charles Jewtraw and Charlie Gorman. The Canadian took the lead, but was soon overtaken by Jewtraw, who held on to the end: 44.0. The only remaining favorite, Larsen, had to skate against a much slower opponent, and also timed 44.4, tying for third place with Clas Thunberg.

Jewtraw had been a top skater in the short distances in the early 1920s. Coming from a poor family, speed skating was expensive, but Jewtraw was "sponsored" by Lake Placid businessman Jack Mabbit. He grew to become one of the fastest skaters in the very short distances, which were primarily contested in North America. He had already retired by the 1924 Olympics, but made a comeback to get a ticket to France. After the gold medal, he skated two more Olympic races before retiring once more.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T 1c
1 Charley Jewtraw 23 United States USA Gold 44.0 10.5 OR
2 Oskar Olsen 26 Norway NOR Silver 44.2 10.8 OR
3T Roald Larsen 26 Norway NOR Bronze 44.8
3T Clas Thunberg 30 Finland FIN Bronze 44.8
5 Asser Wallenius 21 Finland FIN 45.0 11.0 OR
6 Axel Blomqvist 29 Sweden SWE 45.2
7 Charlie Gorman 26 Canada CAN 45.4
8T Joe Moore 23 United States USA 45.6 11.0 OR
8T Harald Strøm 26 Norway NOR 45.6
10 Julius Skutnabb 34 Finland FIN 46.4
11 Eric Blomgren 30 Sweden SWE 46.6
12 Harry Kaskey 21 United States USA 47.0
13 Sigurd Moen 26 Norway NOR 47.2
14 Bill Steinmetz 24 United States USA 47.8
15 Léon Quaglia 28 France FRA 48.4
16 Alberts Rumba 31 Latvia LAT 48.8
17 Leon Jucewicz 21 Poland POL 49.6
18 Albert Hassler 20 France FRA 50.6
19 Louis De Ridder 21 Belgium BEL 52.8
20 André Gegout 19 France FRA 53.2
21 Georges de Wilde 23 France FRA 54.8
22 Gaston Van Hazebroeck Belgium BEL 55.8
23T Fred Dix Great Britain GBR 56.4
23T Philippe Van Volckxsom Belgium BEL 56.4
25 Tom Sutton 31 Great Britain GBR 1:00.8
26 Marcel Moens 31 Belgium BEL 1:02.2
27 Cyril Horn 19 Great Britain GBR 1:04.4