There was no clear favorite as Lidiya Skoblikova, who won all four events at Innsbruck, was now skating only the distance events in Grenoble. Only six days before this event started, Soviet skater Tatyana Sidorova broke the world record at Davos with a time of 44.7. Also highly considered was her teammate, Lyudmila Titova, who had won the 500 and 1,000 at the recent 1968 World Championships. In the second pair, American Mary Meyers took the lead with 46.3. Meyers was not unknown, having competed at the 1966 and 1967 World Championships, but the time was not expected to hold up. But nobody beat it until Titova went off in the ninth pair and finished in 46.1 to take the lead. In the next pair, American Dianne Holum was considered a challenger, having placed second in the 500 at the 1967 and 1968 World Championships. She skated well and tied Meyers’ time. The final American was Jenny Fish, who went off in the last pair. Relatively unknown, she surprised with 46.3, giving the United States a three-way tie for the silver medals, as Titova held on for the gold. Over the next few years, Titova would establish herself as the best sprinter in the world, winning the inaugural World Sprint Championships in 1971 and multiple distance races over 500 and 1,000 metres at major internationals. In 1972 she would win a bronze medal in the 500 at the Sapporo Olympics.