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Speed Skating at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games:

Men's 500 metres

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Calgary, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Oval, Calgary
Date Started: February 14, 1988
Date Finished: February 14, 1988

Gold: GDR Uwe-Jens Mey
Silver: NED Jan Ykema
Bronze: JPN Akira Kuroiwa

Summary

There was a large field of favorites and outsiders in this event. South Korean Bae Gi-Tae had won four World Cup races, while East German Uwe-Jens Mey had taken three. American Dan Jansen had won two, but was nevertheless the top favorite. A week before the Games, he had won the World Sprint Championships at West Allis by winning three of the four distances, including both 500 ms. Also in contention were Jan Ykema, a Dutchman who had won a World Cup race in Innsbruck, and Nick Thometz, who held the world record in the event since March 1987, with 37.55.

After Ykema had lowered the Olympic Record in the first pair, Dan Jansen was due to skate in the second heat. Just hours before the race, he had learned of the death of his sister, Jane, who had long suffered of leukemia. His family insisted that he start his race, but a distracted Jansen fell in the first curve and did not finish the race. The drama for Jansen would repeat itself a few days later, when he also fell in the 1,000 m.

Next up was Sergey Fokichev, the defending champion. Despite recording the fastest opener, his 36.82 would land him just outside the medals. These were taken by the skaters in pair four, Mey and Akira Kuroiwa. Mey had been runner-up behind Jansen at West Allis, while Kuroiwa was the 1983 and 1987 World Champion. Mey clearly beat his Japanese opponent and with 36.45, he lowered the world record by a tenth of a second. Kuroiwa was three tenths behind, and narrowly missed Ykema's time with 36.77. While East Germany had taken many Olympic speed skating titles already, Mey was the first man from that country to do so.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T 1c
1 Uwe-Jens Mey 24 East Germany GDR Gold 36.45 9.76 WR
2 Jan Ykema 24 Netherlands NED Silver 36.76 9.85 OR
3 Akira Kuroiwa 26 Japan JPN Bronze 36.77 9.93
4 Sergey Fokichev 25 Soviet Union URS 36.82 9.72
5 Bae Gi-Tae 22 South Korea KOR 36.90 9.92
6 Igor Zhelezovsky 24 Soviet Union URS 36.94 9.76
7 Guy Thibault 23 Canada CAN 36.96 9.99
8 Nick Thometz 24 United States USA 37.16 10.00
9 Yasumitsu Kanehama 24 Japan JPN 37.25 10.03
10 Frode Rønning 28 Norway NOR 37.31 10.03
11 Yasushi Kuroiwa 22 Japan JPN 37.34 10.00
12 Vitaliy Makovetskiy 21 Soviet Union URS 37.35 9.91
13 Kimihiro Hamaya 24 Japan JPN 37.38 9.97
14 Gaétan Boucher 29 Canada CAN 37.47 10.07
15 Erik Henriksen 29 United States USA 37.50 10.31
16 Menno Boelsma 27 Netherlands NED 37.52 10.03
17 Daniel Turcotte 25 Canada CAN 37.60 9.93
18T Bjørn Hagen 27 Norway NOR 37.69 10.19
18T Göran Johansson 29 Sweden SWE 37.69 10.04
20 Hans-Peter Oberhuber 25 West Germany FRG 37.73 10.16
21 André Hoffmann 26 East Germany GDR 37.75 10.12
22 Marty Pierce 21 United States USA 37.76 10.17
23 Mike Richmond 27 Australia AUS 37.77 10.32
24 Hein Vergeer 26 Netherlands NED 37.80 10.22
25 Jerzy Dominik 23 Poland POL 37.83 10.05
26 Michael Hadschieff 24 Austria AUT 37.90 10.39
27 Uwe Streb 24 West Germany FRG 38.03 10.13
28 Peter Adeberg 19 East Germany GDR 38.11 10.45
29 Robert Tremblay 22 Canada CAN 38.34 10.23
30 Hans Magnusson 27 Sweden SWE 38.60 10.35
31 Claude Nicouleau 26 France FRA 38.63 10.06
32 Claes Bengtsson 28 Sweden SWE 38.66 10.55
33 Hans van Helden 39 France FRA 39.05 10.84
34 Christian Eminger 23 Austria AUT 39.70 10.90
35 Behudin Merdović 26 Yugoslavia YUG 56.21 10.87 fall
36 Nikolay Gulyayev 22 Soviet Union URS 1:02.86 10.12 fall
AC Dan Jansen 22 United States USA 9.95 DNF/fall