| Event type

500 metres, Men

Date 4 February 1932 — 10:30
LocationJames C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval, Lake Placid
Participants16 from 4 countries
Olympic Record 43.4 / Bernt Evensen NOR / 13 February 1928
43.4 / Clas Thunberg FIN / 13 February 1928
StarterWilliam E. RoughtonCAN
RefereeJoseph SavageUSA

The heats of the 500 m got underway immediately after the opening ceremony. The 16 competitors were divided into three heats, with the first two in each heat qualifying for the final. The first race got underway with Japanese Shozo Ishihara taking the lead, but he was caught by local hero Jack Shea on the backstretch. He raced shoulder to shoulder on the final straight with North American champion Frank Stack of Canada, easing up before the finish as their gap to the rest was sufficient. Defending Olympic Champion Evensen was drawn in the second heat, which he won ahead of Willy Logan, who surprisingly eliminated Ray Murray, one of the favourites. In the final heat, a third Canadian - Alex Hurd - qualified for the final, while John O’Neil Farrell edged out his team-mate Allan Potts for the last berth. Norway’s Haakon Pedersen, one of the favourites, failed to qualify after being obstructed by Farrell, but no protests appear to have been lodged. Pedersen took revenge two weeks later, winning the 500 m at the World Championships, also held in Lake Placid.

After the first half of the Canada–USA hockey game, the competition resumed with the final. Three Canadians (Stack, Logan, Hurd), two Americans (Shea, Farrell) and one Norwegian (Evensen) formed the field. Starting positions were decided by the drawing of lots, resulting in the following set-up (inside-to-outside): Evensen, Farrell, Shea, Logan, Stack, Hurd. Farrell and Shea tried to switch positions, but they were recalled. Shea opened up a gap with the pack directly from the start, followed by Evensen and Logan. Going into the final curve, Shea had a 3 yard gap on the Norwegian, which he managed to extend further in the final 100 meters, breaking the finish tape with 5 metres on Evensen, who was followed by Hurd, Logan, Stack and Farrell. His time of 43.4 was the fastest time of the season up to that moment, and equalled the Olympic Record.

After the race, the three medalists became the first Olympians to be awarded their prizes on a podium, as it is still done today. The ceremony was far less organised than it is now, the podium being crowded by bystanders and nearly invisible for most spectators. An embarrassing incident occurred when IOC president Henri de Baillet-Latour handed out the wrong medals to Evensen and Hurd. The two skaters were standing on the wrong side of champion Shea, but this was not noticed by the highest Olympic official.

1Jack SheaUSAGold
2Bernt EvensenNORSilver
3Alex HurdCANBronze
4Frank StackCAN
5Willy LoganCAN
6John O'Neil FarrellUSA
3 h1 r1/2Shozo IshiharaJPN
3 h2 r1/2Ray MurrayUSA
3 h3 r1/2Allan PottsUSA
4 h1 r1/2Erling LindboeNOR
4 h2 r1/2Tokuo KitaniJPN
4 h3 r1/2Haakon PedersenNOR
5 h1 r1/2Yasuo KawamuraJPN
5 h2 r1/2Leo SylvestreCAN
5 h3 r1/2Hans EngnestangenNOR
6 h3 r1/2Tomeju UrumaJPN
DNSHerb FlackCAN
DNSMarion McCarthyCAN
DNSHarry SmythCAN
DNSOssi BlomqvistFIN
DNSIvar BallangrudNOR
DNSMichael StaksrudNOR
DNSIngvar LindbergSWE
DNSMilford Deitz, Jr.USA
DNSLloyd GuentherUSA
DNSHerb TaylorUSA
DNSEdwin WedgeUSA

Round One

Date4 February 1932 — 10:30
FormatTop two finishers in each heat advanced to final.

Heat #1

1Frank StackCAN44.3Q
2Jack SheaUSAQ
3Shozo IshiharaJPN
4Erling LindboeNOR
5Yasuo KawamuraJPN

Heat #2

1Bernt EvensenNOR45.3Q
2Willy LoganCANQ
3Ray MurrayUSA
4Tokuo KitaniJPN
5Leo SylvestreCAN

Heat #3

1Alex HurdCAN44.9Q
2John O'Neil FarrellUSAQ
3Allan PottsUSA
4Haakon PedersenNOR
5Hans EngnestangenNOR
6Tomeju UrumaJPN

Final Round

Date4 February 1932
1Jack SheaUSA43.4=OR
2Bernt EvensenNOR
3Alex HurdCAN
4Frank StackCAN
5Willy LoganCAN
6John O'Neil FarrellUSA