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Speed Skating at the 1972 Sapporo Winter Games:

Men's 500 metres

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Host City: Sapporo, Japan
Venue(s): Makomanai Speed Skating Rink, Sapporo
Date Started: February 5, 1972
Date Finished: February 5, 1972

Gold: FRG Erhard Keller
Silver: SWE Hasse Börjes
Bronze: URS Valery Muratov

Summary

The event was expected to be between the defending champion, Erhard Keller, the 1971 World Sprint champion, and two-time world-record setter, and Valery Muratov, the 1970 World Sprint champion. But Leo Linkovesi of Finland had recently broken Keller’s world record with 38.0 in Davos in January 1972. And Ard Schenk was a mild threat. Schenk was the greatest all-around skater in the world, and was trying to win four gold medals in the four speed skating events, to duplicate the feat of Lidiya Skoblikova in 1964, but he was a longshot in the 500.

In the first pair Sweden’s Hasse Börjes posted an Olympic record of 39.69, which was considered a formidable time. But Keller bettered it in the third pair, finishing in 39.44, and these two would eventually win the gold and silver medals, as Keller defended his title. Muratov was in the next pairing and his 39.80 brought him the bronze medal. Schenk was in the fifth pair and although anticipation was high, he fell early and although he got and finished the race, he wound up in 34th place. Linkovesi skated next but his 40.14 earned him only sixth place.

Keller was one of the great sprinters of his era. In his career he would set four world records at 500 metres, one in the 1,000 m, and one in the sprint all-around. In addition to his two Olympic golds in this event, he won the distance at the 1968 and 1970 World Winter Universiade, the 1969-70 European Championships, and one race at the 1971 World Sprints. Börjes was also a top sprinter, setting four 500 m world records and winning eight 500s and three 1,000s at major internationals. As a professional, he was World Champion in 1974 and European Champion in 1973-74.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T 1c
1 Erhard Keller 27 West Germany FRG Gold 39.44 10.06 OR
2 Hasse Börjes 24 Sweden SWE Silver 39.69 9.93 OR
3 Valery Muratov 25 Soviet Union URS Bronze 39.80 9.87
4 Per Bjørang 24 Norway NOR 39.91 9.85
5 Seppo Hänninen 28 Finland FIN 40.12 9.94
6 Leo Linkovesi 24 Finland FIN 40.14 9.75
7 Ove König 21 Sweden SWE 40.25 9.93
8 Masaki Suzuki 27 Japan JPN 40.35 9.94
9 Mats Wallberg 22 Sweden SWE 40.41 9.88
10 Hans Lichtenstern 23 West Germany FRG 40.55 10.07
11 Pete Eberling 19 United States USA 40.58 10.01
12 Lasse Efskind 27 Norway NOR 40.60 9.9
13 Takayuki Hida 27 Japan JPN 40.62 9.91
14 Vladimir Komarov 23 Soviet Union URS 40.65 10.10
15 Neil Blatchford 26 United States USA 40.67 9.81
16 Johan Granath 21 Sweden SWE 40.79 9.86
17 Norio Hirate 23 Japan JPN 41.08 9.97
18 Johan Lind 30 Norway NOR 41.14 10.23
19 Keiichi Suzuki 29 Japan JPN 41.28 10.18
20 Greg Lyman 21 United States USA 41.30 10.0
21 Gerd Zimmermann 29 West Germany FRG 41.35 10.6
22 Jeong Chung-Gu 22 South Korea KOR 41.42 10.46
23 Otmar Braunecker 28 Austria AUT 42.14 10.57
24 David Hampton 24 Great Britain GBR 42.59 10.6
25T Bruno Toniolli 28 Italy ITA 42.67 10.89
25T Eddy Verheijen 25 Netherlands NED 42.67 11.16
27 Jouko Salakka 20 Finland FIN 42.81 10.6
28 Luvsanlkhagvyn Dashnyam 31 Mongolia MGL 42.86 10.4
29 Gerry Cassan 17 Canada CAN 42.87 10.5
30 John Cassidy 19 Canada CAN 43.01 10.5
31 Herbert Schwarz 18 West Germany FRG 43.03 10.9
32 Jappie van Dijk 27 Netherlands NED 43.04 10.9
33 Richard Tourne 21 France FRA 43.06 10.90
34 Ard Schenk 27 Netherlands NED 43.40 12.24
35 Jim Lynch 23 Australia AUS 43.51 10.53
36 Colin Coates 25 Australia AUS 44.74 10.4
AC Ole Christian Iversen 25 Norway NOR DNF
AC John Wurster 24 United States USA DNF