Host City: Chamonix, France
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Chamonix
Date Started: January 26, 1924
Date Finished: January 26, 1924
|Bronze:|| Roald Larsen
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.
|1||Charley Jewtraw||23||United States||USA||Gold||44.0||10.5||OR|
|8T||Joe Moore||23||United States||USA||45.6||11.0||OR|
|12||Harry Kaskey||21||United States||USA||47.0|
|14||Bill Steinmetz||24||United States||USA||47.8|
|19||Louis De Ridder||21||Belgium||BEL||52.8|
|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|
|27||Cyril Horn||19||Great Britain||GBR||1:04.4|