Speedskating - Olympic statistics

Some 1500 m stats:


World record and season best:
Shani Davis, Salt Lake City, Dec 11, 2009
23,28 - 48,04 - 1.13,73 - 1.41,04

Lowland record and lowland season best:
Shani Davis, Hamar, Nov 21, 2009
23,61 - 48,87 - 1.15,60 - 1.44,27

Olympic record:
Derek Parra, Salt Lake City, Feb 19, 2002
23,57 - 49,06 - 1.15,54 - 1.43,95

Rink record:
Shani Davis, Mar 12, 2009
23,88 - 50,09 - 1.17,45 - 1.46,17


Best nation:
Norway with 8 wins: Charles Mathiesen 1936 (2.19,2), Sverre Farstad 1948 (2.17,6), Hjalmar Andersen 1952 (2.20,4), Roald Aas (shared) 1960 (2.10,4), Jan Egil Storholt 1976 (1.59,38), Johann Olav Koss, 1992 (1.54,81) and 1994 (1.51,29), and Ådne Søndrål 1998 (1.47,87). The Soviet Union and the USA each have 3 golds, Finland and the Netherlands 2, while Canada, (East) Germany and Italy have 1 each.

Best individual skater:
Three people have won twice: our great Finnish friend Clas Thunberg, winning in 1924 and 1928, the Bengali Phantom Johan Olav Koss, taking them in 1992 and ’94, and the speedy Jevgenij Grishin, winning in 1956 and 1960, though he had to share both of them.

Biggest win:
2.03,4 in Grenoble 1968 was awesome, by Kees Verkerk, one of the greatest 1500 m specialists ever, 1.6 seconds ahead of the tied silver medallists Ard Schenk and Ivar Eriksen. The dominant skater of the previous season had a troubled start of the Olympic one. The loss of the popular trainer Huiskes and frictions with the new one, de Graaff, had affected the team, and results were disappointing. The European championship was a disaster. Prospects were looking bleak going into Grenoble. But Keessie could not let this chance go amiss. The 1500 m was his property, and he would not gladly let anyone else touch it. His sensational silver in Innsbruck 1964, and the circumstances afterwards - his mother dying the day after his medal party, leaving the fur hat that she bought to go with him to Innsbruck and see him race for the first time, a fur hat destined to become his trademark - cemented his special relationship with the distance. It was mean enough that Magne Thomassen had stolen his world record in Davos, though he was only two tenths away from taking it back in a later pair. He had long promised that the silver from Innsbruck was to be turned into gold. And he would allow no-one to stop him. So he forsook the 10000 m, thinking its gold was unavailable, and specialised for the 1500 and the 5000 the weeks after the Bislett championship. Losing the Olympic 5000 m and the new world record to Maier by only 8/10 was the last straw. He got angry and decided that he would wring himself like a wet rag the following day, take out all his capital. So he did, and it made the difference. And what a difference...

Narrowest win:
Grishin’s two shared golds are the only golden ties in Olympic 1500 m history. In Cortina 1956 a great challenge came from the Fins Salonen and Järvinen in the 1st and 9th pairs, both breaking the 2.10-barrier and threatening the new world record of Mikhailov from Davos. But Grishin beat the record himself in the 11th pair and one pair later was joined by the former recordholder in the same time 2.08,6. In Squaw Valley 1960, the conditions were windy, and many skaters with fast starts were approaching 40 in their last laps, including the World Champion and distance favourite Stenin, who lead with his 2.11,5 when Aas beat him in 2.10,4, applying a relatively slow start and fast finish. Three more pairs attacked in vain and then Grishin, starting faster than anyone, had a 3 seconds lead on Aas before the final lap, but lost exactly those seconds in the last 400 meters.

Most surprising win:
Charles Mathiesen, Drammen, 1936. When his clubmate Ivar Ballangrud surprisingly won the 500 m wednesday morning and the 5000 more according to plan in the afternoon, it was thought that he was on his way to performing the same thick Eric Heiden completed 44 years later, winning every distance. Charles was a specialist in the 10000 m, where he set his records, and there lay his gold hopes this time. But he occasionally made good 15 hundreds as well, and this time he did it well enough to claim the gold, breaking a seemingly interminable string of second places. Newspapers state that Ivar was somewhat disturbed by the opening pace of his pairmate, the US sprinter Leo Freisinger (who came in 4th), but the journalists at the time must have been very disappointed by Ivar’s grand slam failure, because they devote a lot of space to explanations, more or less logical. And quoted laptimes I have seen seem to indicate that he started slower than usual instead of faster.

May we all have a happy 1500m...