Speed Skating at the 1992 Winter Olympics

Dates 9 – 20 February 1992
Medal Events 10

Speed skating is not a popular sport in France, and at the time the Games were awarded to Albertville, there were only two 400 m rinks in the country, both dating from earlier Olympics in Chamonix (1924) and Grenoble (1968). The rink in Albertville was designed to be re-purposed after the Games, when it was transformed to a football field with a running track. As the Chamonix and Grenoble rinks were also destroyed in the years after the Games, the 1992 Games actually marked the end of speed skating in France. To minimize costs, the rink in Albertville had been an outdoor oval, which meant the Olympic Records set at the high-altitude indoor rink in Calgary 1988 were unapproachable. While the French had hired the Inzell ice manager to ensure good ice conditions, several events were influenced by poor ice. Not helped by occasional rain and wind, several events were postponed with the hope of better ice, which rarely happened. In fact, the Albertville Games contributed to a rule by the International Skating Union (ISU) stating all Olympic speed skating competitions must be held indoors.

While East Germany had been successful in speed skating at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, the reunited Germany was even more succesful in Albertville, winning five out of ten gold medals. Two of them were won by Gunda Niemann (Germany), who won the 3,000 and 5,000 m and placed second in the 1,500 m. Another woman, Bonnie Blair (United States), also took two golds, adding to her 1988 500 m title. Also remarkable was the performance of Asian skaters. They had never won more than one medal at previous Games, but now Japan, China and South Korea shared in the prizes, although they did not capture a title.

Events

Event Status Date Participants NOCs
500 metres, Men Olympic 15 February 1992 43 17
1,000 metres, Men Olympic 18 February 1992 46 21
1,500 metres, Men Olympic 16 February 1992 46 21
5,000 metres, Men Olympic 13 February 1992 36 20
10,000 metres, Men Olympic 20 February 1992 30 15
500 metres, Women Olympic 10 February 1992 34 12
1,000 metres, Women Olympic 14 February 1992 36 14
1,500 metres, Women Olympic 12 February 1992 33 14
3,000 metres, Women Olympic 9 February 1992 26 12
5,000 metres, Women Olympic 17 February 1992 24 11
154 (95/59) 23 (23/16)

Medals

Event Gold Silver Bronze
500 metres, Men Uwe-Jens MeyGER Toshiyuki KuroiwaJPN Junichi InoueJPN
1,000 metres, Men Olaf ZinkeGER Kim Yun-ManKOR Yukinori MiyabeJPN
1,500 metres, Men Johann Olav KossNOR Ådne SøndrålNOR Leo VisserNED
5,000 metres, Men Geir KarlstadNOR Falko ZandstraNED Leo VisserNED
10,000 metres, Men Bart VeldkampNED Johann Olav KossNOR Geir KarlstadNOR
500 metres, Women Bonnie BlairUSA Ye QiaoboCHN Christa LudingGER
1,000 metres, Women Bonnie BlairUSA Ye QiaoboCHN Monique GarbrechtGER
1,500 metres, Women Jacqueline BörnerGER Gunda NiemannGER Seiko HashimotoJPN
3,000 metres, Women Gunda NiemannGER Heike WarnickeGER Emese HunyadyAUT
5,000 metres, Women Gunda NiemannGER Heike WarnickeGER Claudia PechsteinGER

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Germany GER 5 3 3 11
Norway NOR 2 2 1 5
United States USA 2 0 0 2
Netherlands NED 1 1 2 4
People's Republic of China CHN 0 2 0 2
Japan JPN 0 1 3 4
Republic of Korea KOR 0 1 0 1
Austria AUT 0 0 1 1