| Event type

500 metres, Women

Date13 – 14 February 1998
LocationM-Wave, Nagano
Participants38 from 14 countries
FormatTwo runs, total time determined placement.
Olympic Record 39.10 WR / Bonnie Blair USA / 22 February 1988
StarterFuminori YamagishiJPN
RefereeJan MarmstålSWE

Only one woman was expected to win the 500 m in Nagano: Catriona Le May Doan. At the start of the season, she had lowered defending champion Bonnie Blair’s world record to 37.90, becoming the first woman to beat 38 seconds in the 500 m. She lowered it a few times more to 37.55 in December 1997. Weeks before the Olympics, Le May Doan won the distance twice at the World Sprint Championships, also grabbing the overall title. She had also won five of the six World Cup races that season, the only other victory being claimed by fellow Canadian Susan Auch. Some of the top racers from the previous season had trouble adapting to the new clap skate, such as 1997 World Champion Xue Ruihong, who would fare no better than 14th at the Olympics.

Two heats were being run at the Olympics for the first time, but this did not affect the results, with both runs having the exact same top three. Catriona Le May Doan won the first run as expected, but her lead over Auch was just 0.03 seconds, and the time was somewhat slower than expected (38.39). Third behind the two Canadians was home skater Tomomi Okazaki, beloved with the crowd for her smile. The gap to the fourth skater, Kyoko Shimazaki, was substantial, and the medals appeared decided already.

The next day, nothing changed. 1997 world bronze medalist Franziska Schenk moved up to 4th place, while Okazaki replicated her first day race to stay in third. In the final pair, Auch and Le May faced each other. As always, Auch had the better start of the two, but Le May the better full lap, now beating Auch by 3 tenths of a second.

PosCompetitorNOCTimeRace #1Race #2
1Catriona Le May DoanCAN76.6038.39 (1)38.21 (1)GoldOR
2Susan AuchCAN76.9338.42 (2)38.51 (2)Silver
3Tomomi OkazakiJPN77.1038.55 (3)38.55 (3)BronzeOR
4Franziska SchenkGER77.4538.88 (5)38.57 (4)OR
5Kyoko ShimazakiJPN77.6838.75 (4)38.93 (5)
6Marianne TimmerNED78.1539.12 (9)39.03 (7)OR
7Sabine VölkerGER78.1939.19 (10)39.00 (6)
8Monique GarbrechtGER78.4539.11 (=7)39.34 (10)
9Svetlana ZhurovaRUS78.4939.11 (=7)39.38 (11)
10Chris WittyUSA78.5339.09 (6)39.44 (12)
11Eriko SanmiyaJPN78.5639.25 (12)39.31 (9)OR
12Shiho KusunoseJPN78.8039.56 (14)39.24 (8)OR
13Linda Johnson-BlairCAN78.8139.24 (11)39.57 (14)
14Xue RuihongCHN79.0239.49 (13)39.53 (13)
15Anke Baier-LoefGER79.4839.73 (16)39.75 (16)OR
16Anzhalika KatsiuhaBLR79.6139.76 (17)39.85 (18)
=17Becky SundstromUSA79.8640.20 (25)39.66 (15)OR
=17Sandra ZwolleNED79.8639.98 (20)39.88 (19)
19Moira D'AndreaUSA79.9239.83 (18)40.09 (23)
20Edel Therese HøisethNOR80.0140.02 (23)39.99 (20)
21Oksana RavilovaRUS80.0339.99 (21)40.04 (21)
22Wang ManliCHN80.0740.01 (22)40.06 (22)
23Yang ChunyuanCHN80.1639.92 (19)40.24 (24)
=24Marieke WijsmanNED80.7940.22 (26)40.57 (28)OR
=24Choi Seung-YongKOR80.7940.17 (24)40.62 (30)
26Amy SannesUSA80.9040.41 (27)40.49 (26)OR
27Lesia BilozubUKR80.9440.42 (28)40.52 (27)
28Tatyana DanshinaRUS81.1240.53 (29)40.59 (29)
29Cheon Hui-JuKOR81.6240.67 (30)40.95 (31)OR
30Gang Mi-YeongKOR82.2540.96 (31)41.29 (32)
31Liudmila KastiukevichBLR82.4341.00 (32)41.43 (=34)OR
32Krisztina EgyedHUN82.6141.20 (33)41.41 (33)
=33Michelle MortonCAN82.7942.95 (36)39.84 (17)OR
=33Kim Ju-HyeonKOR82.7941.36 (34)41.43 (=34)
35Kim Jong-HuiPRK83.7442.17 (35)41.57 (36)
36Jin HuaCHN104.391:04.07 (37)40.32 (25)
37Andrea NuytNED117.9439.62 (15)1:18.32 (37)
DQEmese HunyadyAUT[40.26] (DQ)– (DNS)