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Speed Skating at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games:

Women's 500 metres

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Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Speed Skating Rink at the Olympic Ice Stadium, Innsbruck
Date Started: February 6, 1976
Date Finished: February 6, 1976

Gold: USA Sheila Young
Silver: CAN Cathy Priestner
Bronze: URS Tatyana Averina-Barabash

Summary

The fastest sprinter of the early 70s was American Sheila Young, who won the World Sprints in 1973, 1975, and would win them again a few weeks later in 1976. Except for a fall in one 500 at the 1974 World Sprints, she had lost only one international 500 since the 1972 Winter Olympics, and only a week before the Olympics, had set her second 500 world record with 40.91 at Davos. She was heavily favored in Innsbruck. Her biggest challengers were expected to be Soviet Tayana Averina, who had set two world records at the distance, and her teammate, Leah Poulos, who had won the 1974 World Sprints when Young had fallen in one race. Of the favorites, Young was the first to start, in the fifth pair, and she recorded 42.76 to move into the lead ahead of Canada's Cathy Priestner, who had skated in the pair before her and posted 43.12. Poulos started in the eighth pair, but could not match either time, finishing in 43.21, which would eventually place her fourth. In the next pair, Soviet Vera Krasnova put a scare into Young with a very fast 100 in 10.64, 0.18 ahead of Young's start, but she could not maintain that pace and would finish fifth. When Averina finished the 12th pairing in 43.17, the medals were set, with Young winning as expected, Priestner getting silver, and Averina the bronze. A few weeks later, Young would win all four races at the 1976 World Sprints. She was also a cycling sprint champion, winning the women's sprint at the 1973 World Championships, finishing third in 1975, and she would again win the World Championship in the cycling sprint later in 1976 and in 1981.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T 1c
1 Sheila Young 25 United States USA Gold 42.76 10.82 OR
2 Cathy Priestner 19 Canada CAN Silver 43.12 11.04 OR
3 Tatyana Averina-Barabash 25 Soviet Union URS Bronze 43.17 10.92
4 Leah Poulos-Mueller 24 United States USA 43.21 10.98
5 Vera Krasnova 25 Soviet Union URS 43.23 10.64
6 Lyubov Sadchikova 24 Soviet Union URS 43.80 11.14
7 Makiko Nagaya 20 Japan JPN 43.88 10.94
8 Paula-Irmeli Halonen 30 Finland FIN 43.99 11.24
9 Lori Monk 19 United States USA 44.00 10.85
10 Heike Lange 20 East Germany GDR 44.21 11.00
11 Sylvia Burka 21 Canada CAN 44.35 11.31
12 Monika Gawenus-Holzner-Pflug 21 West Germany FRG 44.36 11.70
13 Ann-Sofie Järnström 26 Sweden SWE 44.49 11.28
14 Stanisława Pietruszczak 22 Poland POL 44.68 11.13
15 Ines Bautzmann 17 East Germany GDR 44.87 11.14
16 Sigrid Sundby-Dybedahl 33 Norway NOR 45.00 11.47
17 Keiko Hasegawa 20 Japan JPN 45.09 11.17
18 Erwina Ryś-Ferens 21 Poland POL 45.37 11.39
19 Christa Jaarsma 23 Netherlands NED 45.45 11.30
20 Ute Dix 20 East Germany GDR 45.60 11.17
21 Kathy Vogt 16 Canada CAN 45.62 11.45
22 Sylvia Filipsson 22 Sweden SWE 45.97 11.75
23 Annie Borckink 24 Netherlands NED 46.00 11.86
24 Sijtje van der Lende 26 Netherlands NED 46.06 11.60
25 Lee Nam-Sun 14 South Korea KOR 46.33 11.49
26 Ewa Malewicka 20 Poland POL 46.67 11.38 fall
27 Linda Rombouts 22 Belgium BEL 48.31 12.03