Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): M-Wave, Nagano
Date Started: February 9, 1998
Date Finished: February 10, 1998
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
Unlike in other distances, there had not yet been a new world record in the 500 m set on clap skates. The current record of 35.36 had been set by the local favorite for the gold, [Hiroyasu Shimizu]. He had won the World Championships in 1996, the 500 m World Cup in 1995 and 1997, and had medaled three times at the World Sprint Championships on account of his 500 m results. He had not done particular well in the Olympic season, though, winning only the first World Cup race in Roseville. Top challenger was Canadian [Jeremy Wotherspoon], who had won four World Cup races and was runner-up at the World Sprint Championships earlier in the season.
The 1994 Olympic Record was broken in the very first pair, and eventually improved to 35.76 by Shimizu, who won the first run with that time. Trailing by just 0.02 seconds was [Kevin Overland] (Canada), followed by American [Casey FitzRandolph], with 35.81. Also in contention for a medal were [Sylvain Bouchard] (Canada), [Patrick Bouchard] (Canada) and [Erben Wennemars] (Netherlands). With 36.04, Wotherspoon was considered too far off the lead to threaten Shimizu. The first of the leaders to race on the second day, he disproved that theory, setting what would turn out to be the second fastest time of the day (35.80), good enough to climb to the 2nd place in the rankings.
Fifth-placed Erben Wennemars was eliminated by his falling pairmate [Grunde NjÃ¸s] and had to be stretchered off. Overland, and the two Bouchards (not related) all posted times slower than 36 seconds, and fell in the rankings, as did FitzRandolph, who only clocked the 13th time of the day. This gave room for Shimizu to collect a much applauded gold medal, but he did so in style, setting the best time of the competition with 35.59. Later that year, Shimizu became the first skater to beat 35 seconds in the 500 m, lowering the world best to 34.82.
|6||Casey FitzRandolph||23||United States||USA||72.20|
|7||Kim Yun-Man||24||South Korea||KOR||72.36|
|8||Lee Gyu-Hyeok||19||South Korea||KOR||72.55|
|16T||Jegal Seong-Ryeol||27||South Korea||KOR||72.97|
|21||Jakko Jan Leeuwangh||25||Netherlands||NED||73.23|
|23||Marc Pelchat||30||United States||USA||73.35||OR|
|25||Dave Cruikshank||29||United States||USA||73.53|
|34||Kim Jin-Su||21||South Korea||KOR||74.32|
|36||Cory Carpenter||21||United States||USA||75.11|