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Speed Skating at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Games:

Men's 500 metres

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Host City: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Rink at Rießersee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Date Started: February 11, 1936
Date Finished: February 11, 1936

Gold: NOR Ivar Ballangrud
Silver: NOR Georg Krog
Bronze: USA Leo Freisinger


After the cancelled [10000 m] in

1928 and the disputed pack style rules in [1932]), the 500 m in Garmisch also saw controversy. The event was surprisingly won by Norway's [Ivar Ballangrud]. Ballangrud, was hardly a rookie: he was already a triple Olympic medallist by that time, and was the World Champion of 1926, 1932, European Champion of 1929, 1930 and 1933. He had dominated the 1936 season, winning the European and World title in the month prior to the Games. However, Ballangrud was not considered a top sprinter, and even his selection for the Norwegian team on the distance was somewhat contentious. However, the controversy lay in the fact that he beat [Georg Krog], Norway's top sprinter. While the result of the official timekeepers all agree on the times of both skaters, various (Norwegian) journalists have different accounts. It was quite common in these days for the media to keep their own stopwatches, and check on the times. Some claim Krog's time, officially 43.5, should have been four tenths faster - owing the difference to an ambiguous call by the timekeepers to the referee. Others claim Ballangrud's time was simply one second too fast, and should have been 44.4 seconds. Norwegian radio reporter Finn Amundsen even re-timed Ballangrud's race from the start and finish signals on his own audiotape, and clocked 44.4, like he had during the actual race. In spite of all this, no official protest appears to have been lodged, and the result stands as listed below.

Behind the two Norwegians, several favorites competed for third. Norway's two other contenders, [Harry Haraldsen] and [Hans Engnestangen] both fell. All four United States skaters were medal potentials, despite the absence of defending Olympic Champion [Jack Shea]. He was not too fond of travelling to Nazi Germany, and could not afford to stay away from his family that long. [Allan Potts] had lowered the World Record to 42.4 the month before the Games, but he could do no better than 6th at the Olympics. [Del Lamb], winner of the sprint at the World Championships placed 5th, which left [Leo Freisinger], who won the bronze medal. He narrowly edged out [Shozo Ishihara], who came within a tenth of Japan's first Olympic speed skating medal.

View a Phase of this EventFinal Standings

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Ivar Ballangrud 31 Norway NOR Gold 43.4 =OR
2 Georg Krog 20 Norway NOR Silver 43.5
3 Leo Freisinger 19 United States USA Bronze 44.0
4 Shozo Ishihara 25 Japan JPN 44.1
5 Del Lamb 21 United States USA 44.2
6T Karl Leban 27 Austria AUT 44.8
6T Allan Potts 31 United States USA 44.8
8T Antero Ojala 19 Finland FIN 44.9
8T Jorma Ruissalo 24 Finland FIN 44.9
8T Birger Wasenius 24 Finland FIN 44.9
11T Reikichi Nakamura 19 Japan JPN 45.0
11T Bob Petersen 21 United States USA 45.0
13 Karl Wazulek 21 Austria AUT 45.1
14T Alfons Bērziņš 19 Latvia LAT 45.7
14T Dolf van der Scheer 26 Netherlands NED 45.7
16T Jānis Andriksons 23 Latvia LAT 45.9
16T Seitoku Ri 24 Japan JPN 45.9
18 Axel Johansson 25 Sweden SWE 46.1
19T Ossi Blomqvist 27 Finland FIN 46.2
19T Willi Sandner 24 Germany GER 46.2
21 Ferdinand Preindl 23 Austria AUT 46.4
22T Aleksander Mitt 32 Estonia EST 46.6
22T Kunio Nando 19 Japan JPN 46.6
24T Lou Dijkstra 26 Netherlands NED 46.7
24T Jan Langedijk 25 Netherlands NED 46.7
24T Gustav Slanec 22 Austria AUT 46.7
27 Ben Blaisse 24 Netherlands NED 46.9
28 Heinz Sames 24 Germany GER 47.0
29 Ken Kennedy 22 Australia AUS 47.4
30 Jaromír Turnovský 23 Czechoslovakia TCH 47.8
31 Tommy White 20 Canada CAN 49.6
32 Oldřich Hanč Czechoslovakia TCH 49.8
33 James Graeffe 14 Belgium BEL 54.6
34 Harry Haraldsen 24 Norway NOR 54.9
35 Charles de Ligne 40 Belgium BEL 1:44.6
AC Hans Engnestangen 27 Norway NOR DNF