| Event type

500 metres, Women

Date15 February 1980 — 10:35
LocationJames C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval, Lake Placid
Participants31 from 15 countries
Olympic Record 42.76 / Sheila Young USA / 6 February 1976
RefereeGene SandvigUSA

One week prior to the Winter Olympics, the World Sprint Championships were held in West Allis, Wisconsin. The tournament was won by an unknown East German skater, Karin Enke, who won three of the four races. Enke had started out as a figure skater, placing ninth at the 1977 European Figure Skating Championship, but then turned to speed skating. In the first pair, Sweden’s Ann-Sofie Järnström broke the Olympic record with 42.47, which would eventually place her fourth. Enke was in the second pair and she crossed the line in 41.78, another Olympic record. The third pair matched Beth Heiden, who was the 1979 World Champion, winning all four distances in the process, and Soviet skater Nataliya Petrusyova, who had recently won the 1980 Worlds, winning three of the four races, including the 500. Heiden was the sister of men’s superstar Eric Heiden, who would eventually win five gold medals in Lake Placid, and the American press was building up Beth as a possibility to also win all the women’s events. But she was not the skater Eric was, and would struggle in the 500, placing only seventh. Petruseva finished in 42.42 to move into second, behind Enke. The next pair had American Leah Poulos-Mueller the 1979 World Sprint Champion, who had been second to Enke at the 1980 World Sprints, winning one of the 500s in West Allis. Poulos-Mueller started very slowly, trailing almost all the top sprinters, but finished fast to record 42.26, which brought her the silver medal behind Enke’s gold, with Petrusyova winning bronze.

12OKarin EnkeGDR41.78GoldOR
24ILeah Poulos-MuellerUSA42.26Silver
33ONataliya PetrusyovaURS42.42Bronze
41IAnn-Sofie JärnströmSWE42.47OR
51OMakiko NagayaJPN42.70
64OCornelia JacobGDR42.98
73IBeth HeidenUSA43.18
89OTatyana TarasovaURS43.26
910ISylvia BurkaCAN43.43
105IIrina KovrovaURS43.50
1111IErwina Ryś-FerensPOL43.52
125OChrista RothenburgerGDR43.60
1310OSilvia BrunnerSUI43.72
1416ILee Nam-SunKOR43.85
158IHaitske Valentijn-PijlmanNED44.02
1614ISylvia FilipssonSWE44.05
1711OSigrid SmudaFRG44.11
186IKathy VogtCAN44.15
198OSylvie DaigleCAN44.16
2012OAnneli RepolaFIN44.33
2113ICao GuifengCHN44.43
2213OAnnie BorckinkNED44.47
232ISarah DocterUSA44.48
246OAnnette KarlssonSWE44.52
259IMonika HolznerFRG44.59
2614OSijtje van der LendeNED44.74
2712IShen GuoqinCHN45.03
287OBrigitte FlierlFRG45.28
2915IWang LimeiCHN45.57
3015OKim FerranGBR47.25
DNF7IMarzia PerettiITAfall