Host City: Lillehammer, Norway
Venue(s): Olympic Hall, Hamar
Date Started: February 21, 1994
Date Finished: February 21, 1994
Prior to the Games, just one woman was expected to win the title in the 1,500 m: Gunda Niemann. The German had dominated women's allround skating, winning the 1991, 1992 and 1993 World Allround Championships and the 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994 European Championships. She had won the 1,500 m at most of these competitions, though not at the 1994 Europeans, which were held on the Olympic ice. She had, however, won all World Cup races in the event during the season, and sported a silver medal from Albertville 1992. The women who had beaten her earlier in Hamar was Emese Hunyady, a native Hungarian who had married an Austrian man to escape her communist home country. With Niemann's confidence damaged after her fall in the Olympic 3,000 m, Hunyady hoped to repeat that win at the Olympics.
Niemann skated in the first pair against the winner of the 3,000 m, Svetlana Bazhanova. She beat the Russian woman this time, but her final time of 2:03.41 was a second slower than she had been at the same rink in January, and 1.6 seconds slower than she had been at the December World Cup. That this time was beatable was quickly proven by Bonnie Blair, already winner of the 500 m. Not known for her 1,500 ms, she approached Niemann's leading time by 0.03 seconds. Then it was Hunyady's turn. The former figure skater started out with a 4-tenths advantage, and then slowly expanded her lead to win in 2:02.19. That time would remain unbeaten for the rest of the competition, earning Austria its first Olympic title in speed skating. For Niemann, matters became worse when another skater also beat her time. Gynecology student Svetlana Fedotkina was considered an outsider for a medal, and delivered on that promise. With a very fast start, she built up a half-second gap to Hunyady at the bell. She lost a full second in that last lap, but her 2:02.69 was enough for silver. Later, her Olympic performance became somewhat tainted: in January 1996 she was caught for doping use and suspended for two years.
|4||Bonnie Blair||29||United States||USA||2:03.44||26.25||57.24||1:29.16|
|10||Tonny de Jong||19||Netherlands||NED||2:05.18||27.22||58.72||1:31.53|
|17||Catriona Le May Doan||23||Canada||CAN||2:07.19||26.69||58.60||1:31.80|
|20||Michelle Kline||25||United States||USA||2:08.02||27.53||59.39||1:32.90|
|21||Angela Zuckerman||28||United States||USA||2:08.43||28.44||1:00.65||1:34.07|
|27||Chantal Bailey||28||United States||USA||2:09.68||27.31||58.72||1:32.87|
|30||Cheon Hui-Ju||18||South Korea||KOR||2:12.14||27.55||1:00.73||1:36.10|