Host City: Salt Lake City, United States
Date Started: February 9, 2002
Date Finished: February 14, 2002
Participants: 166 (95 men and 71 women) from 23 countries
Youngest Participant: Yu Fengtong (17 years, 58 days)
Oldest Participant: Emese Nemeth-Hunyady (35 years, 354 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Sabine Völker and Jochem Uytdehaage (3 medals)
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 8 medals
The 2002 speed skating events were contested at the Utah Olympic Oval, in Kearns, Utah, about 20 miles southwest of downtown Salt Lake City. As the highest-built indoor rink at 1,423 m, skaters racing at the Utah Olympic Oval encounter little air resistance. The new rink was expected to rival Calgary's 1988 Olympic Oval for the title of fastest rink in the world. This proved accurate at its first international test competition, the 2001 World Single Distance Championships. World records in five distances were broken, and two more followed at a World cup competition later that year. During the Olympics, world records were set in eight of the ten events, and all Olympic records set in Nagano were beaten.
The only country debuting in Olympic speed skating was the Czech Republic, although Czechoslovakia had sent skaters to the Games before. The most successful skaters in competition were Jochem Uytdehaage (Netherlands) and Claudia Pechstein (Germany). Both of them captured the two longest distances with two new world records, with Uytdehaage also taking silver in the 1,500 m.