Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Speed Skating Rink at the Olympic Ice Stadium, Innsbruck
Date Started: January 30, 1964
Date Finished: January 30, 1964
This was the first women's event in 1964, as it always was in this era, and the only one for which there seemed to be any suspense as to the winner. In the longer distance events, the gold medals were conceded to Lidiya Skoblikova, the 1963 World Champion. She had won gold medals at the 1960 Winter Olympics in the 1,500 and 3,000, and at the 1963 Worlds, had won all four distances. But the short nature of the 500 left it more open to upsets than the longer races. The world record holder was another Soviet, Inga Voronina, but she had failed to make the Soviet team due to a stomach ailment.
After the pair had false started. Irina Yegorova of the Soviet Union started in the first pair and posted an Olympic record 45.4. There were 28 starters and 14 pairs, and Yegorova's mark lasted for a long time, as Skoblikova was not scheduled until the 13th pair. Skoblikova started in 11.5 to Yegorova's 11.4, but her strength then brought her around in 45.0, the second fastest time ever, winning her the gold medal. The Soviets swept the medals with Tatyana Sidorova finishing in 44.5. This was the first ever medal sweep in Olympic speed skating, although the Norwegian men would match it six days later in the 5,000 m. Yegorova was a top sprinter, who had won a pre-Olympic test on 26 January, defeating Skoblikova in the process. She had been second in the 500 at the 1963 World Championships, and would win it at the 1964 and 1966 Worlds. Skoblikova was on her way, winning her third Olympic gold medal, and would sweep all four distances in Innsbruck. A few weeks later she would win the 1964 World Championships, and would win all four distances there as well, tying Yegorova for first in the 500.
|1||Lidiya Skoblikova||24||Soviet Union||URS||Gold||45.0||11.5||OR|
|2||Irina Yegorova||23||Soviet Union||URS||Silver||45.4||11.4||OR|
|3||Tatyana Sidorova||27||Soviet Union||URS||Bronze||45.5|
|4T||Jeanne Ashworth||25||United States||USA||46.2|
|4T||Jan Smith||18||United States||USA||46.2|
|7||Mary Lawler||19||United States||USA||46.6|
|15||Ryoo Choon-Za||20||North Korea||PRK||48.4|
|20||Kim Hye-Suk||17||South Korea||KOR||49.6|
|28||Han Pil-Hwa||22||North Korea||PRK||58.5|