Host City: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Rink at Rießersee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Date Started: February 13, 1936
Date Finished: February 13, 1936
With Ivar Ballangrud having won the 500 metres, he was considered to have a good shot at a clean sweep of the speed skating medals. Other skaters were not considered to have much of a chance, especially since Ballangrud had tied the legendary World Record of Oscar Mathisen, 2:17.4, at the World Championships in Davos (Switzerland). All other fast times of the season had also been posted by Norwegians: Harry Haraldsen, Charles Mathiesen and Hans Engnestangen.
Ballangrud was the first of the top skaters to ride, and his pair with Leo Freisinger (USA) was a great duel. The two skaters exchanged the lead a few times, with Ballangrud leading at the last turn. Freisinger was looking to close in with a final inner curve, but could not keep up, and the Norwegian posted 2:20.2. Another close pair followed, between Mathiesen and Max Stiepl of Austria. A silver medallist in the 1500 m at the European Championships, Mathiesen kept a high tempo, being trailed by Stiepl for the first two laps. He then took off, while keeping his 1 second lead on Ballangrud. His 2:19.2 was an excellent time, and a new Olympic Record - Ballangrud was beaten, the surprise of the day. Harry Haraldsen then seemed to be blazing towards a top position as well, but this was mostly caused by his poor opponent. He caught Belgian Charles de Ligne on the final straightaway, a very rare occurrence in an event of just under four laps. In fact, De Ligne is the worst speed skater in Olympic history. His times in the 500 m (with fall), 1500 m and 5000 m (disqualified) are the worst ever recorded at the Olympics, while the ice in Garmisch-Partenkirchen was of good quality. Only one skater has done worse than De Ligne, in the 10000 m. However, Buddy Solem (USA) had the misfortune of skating on a thawing rink at the 1948 Games.
The top four times were secure until the next to last pair, which included Birger Wasenius, winner of the silver medal the day before. He kept up with the pace of the leading Norwegian couple until 700 metres, but then had to yield. He was trailing Freisinger's third position with a lap to go, but closed that gap to win his second medal of the Games.
|4||Leo Freisinger||19||United States||USA||2:21.3||28.5||1:04.0||1:41.0|
|9T||Dolf van der Scheer||26||Netherlands||NED||2:23.2||29.5||1:06.0||1:44.0|
|12T||Eddie Schroeder||25||United States||USA||2:24.3||29.5||1:05.5||1:44.5|
|17||Robert Petersen||21||United States||USA||2:25.4||29.5||1:05.0||1:44.0|
|32||Allan Potts||31||United States||USA||2:31.2||30.0||1:07.5||1:47.5|
|37||Charles de Ligne||40||Belgium||BEL||3:21.9||40.0||1:32.0||2:27.0|