|Date||2 February 1964 — 13:25|
|Location||Eisschnellaufbahn im Olympiaeisstadion, Innsbruck|
|Participants||28 from 13 countries|
Prior to the 1963-64 season, it was felt that only one woman could challenge Lidiya Skoblikova in the longer distances and that woman was her teammate, Inga Voronina. Voronina had won the 1,500 at the 1962 World Championships, and the 3,000 at the 1961 and 1962 Worlds, and held the world record of 5:06.0, set at Medeo in 1962. But she was not in Innsbruck, not being chosen for the Soviet team due to a stomach ailment. In her absence, the gold was conceded to Skoblikova, who had won the 1963 World Championships, and won all four distances on her way to the title. She was the defending champion and had already won the previous three gold medals in Innsbruck.
The best “other” skater in Voronina’s absence was Valentina Stenina, wife of top male skater Boris Stenin. She had won the 1961 World Championships, and had placed second in the 3,000 at multiple internationals since 1960, always to Skoblikova or Voronina. Stenina started in the fourth pair and took an early lead with 5:18.5. Three pairs later, Skoblikova was up and recorded 5:14.9 to take a lead that everyone expected to hold up, and it did. In the 12th pair, Soviet skater Klara Nesterova finished in 5:22.5 to move into third, and the podium positions seemed set. Or so it seemed. But in the final pair, the 14th, North Korean skater Han Pil-hwa, whose country was making its Olympic début at Innsbruck, started at what appeared to be a crazy pace. A virtual unknown, although she had competed at the 1963 World Championships, thru 1,800 metres she was on the same pace as Skoblikova. She could not hang on to that speed, but finished in 5:18.5 to tie Stenina and knock Nesterova off the podium.
For Skoblikova, it was a clean sweep of all four gold medals in Innsbruck, and added to her two from Squaw Valley, gave her six Olympic gold medals, still a speed skating record, for women or men, thru the 2006 Winter Olympics. The feat has never been duplicated by women, although in 1980, Eric Heiden would win all five men’s events. In fact, only one other woman, Yvonne van Gennip in 1988, has won three gold medals at a single Olympics since. A few weeks after Innsbruck, Skoblikova would repeat her feat, winning all four distances as she won the 1964 World Championships. As for Han, she would prove this was not a fluke. She competed internationally through the 1972 Winter Olympics, and would place third at the distance at the 1966 World Championships, and was fifth all-around at the 1965 Worlds.
|Pos||Pair||Skater||NOC||Time||200 m||600 m||1000 m||1400 m||1800 m||2200 m||2600 m|
|27||6I||Willy de Beer||NED||5:49.9||23||1:06||1:49||2:34||3:21||4:10||4:59|