Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Richmond Olympic Oval, Richmond
Date Started: February 15, 2010
Date Finished: February 15, 2010
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
Of all the speed skating events at the 2010 Games, this distance was the only one without a clear favorite. [Lee Gang-Seok], [Lee Gyu-Hyeok] (both South Korea), Tucker Fredricks (United States), Keiichiro Nagashima, Joji Kato (both Japan) and Mika Poutala (Finland) had all won a World Cup race during the season, with Nagashima and Lee Gang-Seok also winning a 500 m at the World Sprint Championships. Then there was also the home-town favorite, Jeremy Wotherspoon. Long a dominant force in the 500 m, Wotherspoon had missed the 2008-09 season after breaking his arm in a fall. Lacking only an Olympic gold medal in his prize cabinet, Wotherspoon was hoping to fill that void in Vancouver.
The race had trouble getting underway. Halfway through the first run, the two ice resurfacing machines broke down. The spare machine then damaged the ice. Many coaches and team leaders then pressed for a postponement, but the referees eventually decided to continue the race under pressure from the ISU president, Ottavio Cinquanta. With one machine repaired, the event was continued after an hour and a half delay. It was Mika Poutala, known for his pre-start antics, who had clocked the best time, 34.863. He was closely trailed by the surprising Mo Tae-Beom of South Korea and Kato. But several others were not far off the medal pace, the with the entire top ten less than three tenths off the leader's pace.
But the positions would shift quite a bit in second race. Keiichiro Nagashima of Japan moved up from sixth to silver medal position with 34.876, the best time of the second run. He was then topped in overall time by Mo, who was marginally faster than his own first run. The last race was then between Kato and Poutala. The leading Finn seemingly succumbed to the pressure, and only recorded the 11th best time and dropped out of the medals. Kato, a former world record holder, only had to beat Mo's time by 0.014, but instead failed to break the 35-second barrier. Although Kato held on to third place, this gave the gold to Mo Tae-Beom, who had never before had won an international competition, and was considered more of a middle distance expert. In addition, it was the first ever gold medal for South Korea in Olympic speed skating.
|1||Mo Tae-Beom||20||South Korea||KOR||Gold||69.829|
|4||Lee Gang-Seok||24||South Korea||KOR||70.041|
|12||Tucker Fredricks||25||United States||USA||70.356|
|15||Lee Gyu-Hyeok||31||South Korea||KOR||70.489|
|19||Mun Jun||27||South Korea||KOR||71.192|
|26||Nick Pearson||30||United States||USA||71.928|
|37||Mitch Whitmore||20||United States||USA||73.048|
|AC||Shani Davis||27||United States||USA||DNF|