Host City: Grenoble, France
Venue(s): Speed Skating Rink, Grenoble
Date Started: February 10, 1968
Date Finished: February 10, 1968
The Netherlands' Stien Kaiser had to be favored. She had not lost the distance at any major meet since the 1966 World Championship, when she was second, and she had won the distance and the all-around at the 1967 and 1968 Worlds. The world record was 2:19.0, set by Inga Voronina at Medeo in 1962, but she was long since retired. But skating in the fifth pair, Kaiser posted a pedestrian 2:24.5, which did not even break the Olympic record, although it put her in the lead. But in the next pair, Finland's Kaija Mustonen, who had won the silver medal in the event in 1964, but little else, shattered Kaiser's hopes with an Olympic record 2:22.4. And Kaiser was pushed back to bronze when her teammate, Carry Geijssen, came through in 2:22.7 for a silver medal. Near the end of the event, in the 13th pair, was the two-time defending champion, and six-time Olympic gold medalist, Lidiya Skoblikova. But at the end of her career, she would finish only 11th.
For Kaiser Grenoble would be a horrible Olympic experience. Even a bigger favorite in the 3,000, she would also win bronze in that event, and left France with no gold medals. She would return to the Olympics in 1972 and win a gold in the 3,000 and silver in the 1,500. Geijssen had won the 1966 Dutch All-Around, but usually finished behind her teammate. But the next day, she would win the gold medal in the 1,000, the highlight of her career. Mustonen had an unusual career. This was the only major international race she ever won, but she knew how to come through at the Olympics. In 1964 she won a silver in the 1,500 and bronze in the 1,000, and in Grenoble she would add a silver in the 3,000 to her gold in the 1,500.
|5||Lāsma Kauniste||25||Soviet Union||URS||2:25.4||29||1:06||1:45|
|7||Lyudmila Titova||21||Soviet Union||URS||2:26.8||29||1:05||1:44|
|8||Ruth Budzisch-Schleiermacher||18||East Germany||GDR||2:27.1||30||1:07||1:46|
|9T||Hildegard Sellhuber||17||West Germany||FRG||2:27.5||30||1:06||1:46|
|11||Lidiya Skoblikova||28||Soviet Union||URS||2:27.6||30||1:07||1:46|
|13||Dianne Holum||16||United States||USA||2:28.5||29||1:07||1:46|
|16||Jeanne Ashworth||29||United States||USA||2:30.3||29||1:07||1:48|
|25||Jeanne Omelenchuk||36||United States||USA||2:35.5||30||1:10||1:52|
|27||Kim Gwi-Jin||22||South Korea||KOR||2:36.7||31||1:11||1:53|
|30||Paula Dufter||17||West Germany||FRG||2:45.2||33||1:14||1:59|