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Speed Skating at the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Games:

Women's 500 metres

Speed Skating at the 1960 Winter Games: Next Winter Games


Host City: Squaw Valley, United States
Venue(s): Speed Skating Oval, Squaw Valley, California
Date Started: February 20, 1960
Date Finished: February 20, 1960

Gold: GER Helga Haase
Silver: URS Nataliya Donchenko
Bronze: USA Jeanne Ashworth
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This was the first Olympic speed skating medal event ever contested by women. The favorite was Soviet skater Tamara Rylova, who had set the world record of 45.6 at Medeo in 1955, and had won the 500 at the World Championships in both 1958 and 1959. In the opening pair her teammate Nataliya Donchenko posted 46.0, considered to be a fast time. But the time was beaten in the next pair, when East Germany's Helga Haase finished in 45.9. Haase had competed at the Worlds since 1956, but had never placed better than sixth at any distance, with a best overall finish of sixth in 1958. Rylova was in the seventh pair, but could post only 46.2, which would leave her out of the medals. The bronze medal was secured in the ninth pair, when Jeanne Ashworth, many-time American champion, finished in 46.1. Haase never bettered her time of 45.9 and never again won a distance race at a major international. Her gold medal was the first ever won by any athlete from the GDR (East Germany). Haase had come to Squaw Valley without her coach or husband, who were not given visas by US authorities.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T 1c
1 Helga Haase 25 Germany GER Gold 45.9 11.7 OR
2 Nataliya Donchenko 27 Soviet Union URS Silver 46.0 11.9 OR
3 Jeanne Ashworth 21 United States USA Bronze 46.1
4 Tamara Rylova 28 Soviet Union URS 46.2
5 Hatsue Nagakubo-Takamizawa 24 Japan JPN 46.6
6T Klara Guseva-Nesterova 22 Soviet Union URS 46.8
6T Elwira Seroczyńska 28 Poland POL 46.8
8 Fumie Hama 20 Japan JPN 47.4
9 Doreen Ryan 28 Canada CAN 47.7
10 Kathy Mulholland 18 United States USA 47.9
11 Iris Sihvonen 19 Finland FIN 48.1
12 Helena Pilejczyk 28 Poland POL 48.2
13 Françoise Lucas 20 France FRA 48.3
14 Eevi Huttunen 37 Finland FIN 48.6
15 Christina Lindblom-Scherling 19 Sweden SWE 48.7
16 Jeanne Omelenchuk 28 United States USA 49.3
17 Peggy Robb 17 Canada CAN 50.0
18 Sigrit Behrenz 19 Germany GER 50.2
19 Yoshiko Takano 18 Japan JPN 50.3
20 Natascha Liebknecht 19 Germany GER 51.4
21 Kim Gyeong-Hoe 19 South Korea KOR 53.2
22 Han Hye-Ja 18 South Korea KOR 53.8
AC Elsa Einarsson 18 Sweden SWE DNF