Host City: Torino, Italy
Venue(s): Lingotto Oval, Torino
Date Started: February 13, 2006
Date Finished: February 13, 2006
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
Earlier in the Olympic season, the 500 m world record had been broken, for the first time in over 4 years. Japan’s Joji Kato lowered the mark to 34.30, taking over the record from compatriot Hiroyasu Shimizu. While also the 2005 World Champion, Kato had far from dominated the 2005/2006 season, with World Cup wins going to Jeremy Wotherspoon (2003 and 2004 World Champion), Lee Gang-Seok, Yu Fengtong, Dmitry Dorofeyev and Joey Cheek. The latter two skaters had also surprisingly finished 1-2 at the most recent World Sprint Championships, winning one 500 m race each.
After the first run, the winner already seemed certain. American Joey Cheek was the only skater to beat 35 seconds (34.82), and led with a huge margin of 4 tenths over Dmitry Dorofeyev. The fight for bronze was close, with Lee (35.34), Yuya Oikawa (35.35), Wotherspoon (35.37) and Yu (35.39) within 0.05 seconds of each other. World record holder Kato was back in 11th and out of medal contention.
The second run showed pretty much the same picture. Cheek was again the only one under 35 seconds (now with 34.94), and Dorofeyev consolidated his second place, despite being a bit slower than Lee. Cheek proved a popular Olympic champion, especially after he announced to give away his $25,000 award from the US Olympic Committee to charity (“Right to Play”, founded by Johann Olav Koss). Medals won by Dorofeyev and and Lee were the first speed skating medals for their countries since 1994 and 1992, respectively. Dorofeyev’s 2006 successes were a remarkable departure from his earlier results, having only a 1999 World Cup victory as a notable prior achievement.
|1||Joey Cheek||26||United States||USA||Gold||69.76|
|3||Lee Gang-Seok||20||South Korea||KOR||Bronze||70.43|
|8||Choi Jae-Bong||25||South Korea||KOR||71.04|
|12||Casey FitzRandolph||31||United States||USA||71.12|
|17||Lee Gyu-Hyeok||27||South Korea||KOR||71.38|
|25||Tucker Fredricks||21||United States||USA||72.01|
|26||Kip Carpenter||26||United States||USA||72.08|
|37||Gwon Sun-Cheon||22||South Korea||KOR||94.79|