| Event type

3,000 metres, Women

Date20 February 1980 — 10:35
LocationJames C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval, Lake Placid
Participants29 from 14 countries
Olympic Record 4:45.19 / Tatyana Averina URS / 8 February 1976
RefereeGene SandvigUSA

The first pair matched American Beth Heiden, who had won the 1979 World Championships, including wins at all four distances, and Norway’s Bjørg Eva Jensen, who at the recent 1980 World Championships, had won the 3,000 metres. At the 1980 Worlds, Heiden was second and Jensen third overall. By 600 metres Jensen was about ½-second ahead of Heiden and that approximate margin would hold until the final lap. But Heiden tired on the last lap, and Jensen defeated her by a large margin on that lap, finishing in 4:32.13 to Heiden’s 4:33.77. The next pair had East German Sabine Becker, who had little international reputation at this level, as she had skated in the juniors thru 1979. At 2,600 metres she was over a second off the pace set by Jensen and Heiden, but her last lap was the fastest of the event, finishing over a second faster than Jensen, and over two seconds better than Heiden. It brought her thru in 4:32.79, which would earn her the silver medal behind Jensen. Heiden’s time would hold up for the bronze medal, her only medal of the 1980 Olympics, although the American press had built her up as a possibility to win medals in every event. Skating in a late pair, the 11th, was the 1976 silver medalist, Andrea Mitscherlich, who had struggled internationally since 1976, but performed well in Lake Placid and finished fourth in this race.

Because of health reasons, Becker retired from skating after the 1980 season and became a professional singer. In 1986 she defected to West Germany, and in 1988 she resumed speed skating, skating two World Cup seasons for her new country, and then retiring for good. A few weeks after Lake Placid, Jensen won the World Junior Championships. She skated internatonally thru 1988 and then seemingly retired. But in the next century, she came back and skated at the Norwegian Single Distance Championships in 2002 and 2006, at 46-years-old by 2006, placing second in the 5,000 in 2002. Through 2009, her gold medal is the only won in speed skating by a Norwegian woman, and one of only two medals.

11OBjørg Eva JensenNOR4:32.13GoldOR
22OSabine BeckerGDR4:32.79Silver
31IBeth HeidenUSA4:33.77Bronze
411IAndrea MitscherlichGDR4:37.69
53OErwina Ryś-FerensPOL4:37.89
64IMary DocterUSA4:39.29
74OSylvia FilipssonSWE4:40.22
86ONataliya PetrusyovaURS4:42.59
92IOlga PleshkovaURS4:43.11
108ISarah DocterUSA4:43.30
113IBrenda WebsterCAN4:43.67
129OSylvia BurkaCAN4:44.22
136IAnnie BorckinkNED4:47.35
1410ISylvia AlbrechtGDR4:47.76
1511OAnneli RepolaFIN4:50.51
168OSijtje van der LendeNED4:51.53
175OValentina LalenkovaURS4:51.72
187OAnnette KarlssonSWE4:52.70
199ISigrid SmudaFRG4:53.55
2010OLisbeth KorsmoNOR4:54.95
217IMiyoshi KatoJPN4:57.39
2213OKim Yeong-HuiKOR4:58.41
2314IPat DurninCAN4:58.42
2412OLee Seong-AeKOR4:58.77
2514OYuko YaegashiJPN5:00.40
2613IMandy HorsepoolGBR5:08.78
2712IKong MeiyuCHN5:08.90
2815IPiao MeijiCHN5:19.07
DNF5IRia VisserNEDfall