Host City: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Rink at Rießersee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Date Started: February 11, 1936
Date Finished: February 11, 1936
After the cancelled 10000 m in
1928 and the disputed pack style rules in 1932(/games/sportgames?editionid=31&sport_id=SSK), the 500 m in Garmisch also saw controversy. The event was surprisingly won by Norway's Ivar Ballangrud. Ballangrud, was hardly a rookie: he was already a triple Olympic medallist by that time, and was the World Champion of 1926, 1932, European Champion of 1929, 1930 and 1933. He had dominated the 1936 season, winning the European and World title in the month prior to the Games. However, Ballangrud was not considered a top sprinter, and even his selection for the Norwegian team on the distance was somewhat contentious. However, the controversy lay in the fact that he beat Georg Krog, Norway's top sprinter. While the result of the official timekeepers all agree on the times of both skaters, various (Norwegian) journalists have different accounts. It was quite common in these days for the media to keep their own stopwatches, and check on the times. Some claim Krog's time, officially 43.5, should have been four tenths faster - owing the difference to an ambiguous call by the timekeepers to the referee. Others claim Ballangrud's time was simply one second too fast, and should have been 44.4 seconds. Norwegian radio reporter Finn Amundsen even re-timed Ballangrud's race from the start and finish signals on his own audiotape, and clocked 44.4, like he had during the actual race. In spite of all this, no official protest appears to have been lodged, and the result stands as listed below.
Behind the two Norwegians, several favorites competed for third. Norway's two other contenders, Harry Haraldsen and Hans Engnestangen both fell. All four United States skaters were medal potentials, despite the absence of defending Olympic Champion Jack Shea. He was not too fond of travelling to Nazi Germany, and could not afford to stay away from his family that long. Allan Potts had lowered the World Record to 42.4 the month before the Games, but he could do no better than 6th at the Olympics. Del Lamb, winner of the sprint at the World Championships placed 5th, which left Leo Freisinger, who won the bronze medal. He narrowly edged out Shozo Ishihara, who came within a tenth of Japan's first Olympic speed skating medal.
|3||Leo Freisinger||19||United States||USA||Bronze||44.0|
|5||Del Lamb||21||United States||USA||44.2|
|6T||Allan Potts||31||United States||USA||44.8|
|11T||Robert Petersen||21||United States||USA||45.0|
|14T||Dolf van der Scheer||26||Netherlands||NED||45.7|
|35||Charles de Ligne||40||Belgium||BEL||1:44.6|