| Event type

5,000 metres, Men

Date 4 February 1972 — 09:00-12:12
LocationMakomanai Speed Skating Rink, Sapporo
Participants28 from 14 countries
Olympic Record 7:22.4 WR / Fred Anton Maier NOR / 15 February 1968
StarterSaburo TakabayashiJPN
RefereeArne KvaalenNOR

The heavy favorite was Dutch skater Ard Schenk. He had already set 15 world records in his career, and was World Champion in 1970-71 and European Champion in 1970 and 1972. Schenk was trying to win all four races in Sapporo, although he was considered a longshot in the 500 m, but he was the current world record holder in the 5,000 with 7:12.0.

Schenk started in the first pair, while it was snowing. Although it would later stop, the snow seemed not to bother him, as he posted 7:23.61, to win easily. Norway’s Roar Grønvold was in the third pair and would finish almost five seconds back of Schenk, in 7:28.18, but it was good for the silver medal. The bronze went to Norway’s Sten Stensen, another five seconds back in 7:33.39. Schenk and Grønvold were helped by the conditions as the ice was in poor condition after the fourth pair, due to poor ice preparation.

Schenk eventually won three gold medals in Sapporo, all except the 500, matching the feats of Clas Thunberg in 1924, Ivar Ballangrud in 1936, and Hjalmar Andersen in 1952. In his career, Schenk set 18 world records, won eight major international tournaments, and numerous distance titles. He was awarded the Oscar Mathisen Trophy in 1970, 1971, and 1972, and is considered one of the greatest speed skaters of all-time. Schenk briefly skated a short-lived professional circuit after the 1972 Winter Olympics, which lasted only 1½ seasons.

11IArd SchenkNED7:23.61Gold
23IRoar GrønvoldNOR7:28.18Silver
37ISten StensenNOR7:33.39Bronze
413OGöran ClaesonSWE7:36.17
512OWilly OlsenNOR7:36.47
614OKees VerkerkNED7:39.17
710IValery LavrushkinURS7:39.26
88OJan BolsNED7:39.40
94IGerd ZimmermannFRG7:41.16
104ODan CarrollUSA7:44.72
112IKimmo KoskinenFIN7:45.15
128IJohnny HöglinSWE7:45.68
139OKiyomi ItoJPN7:45.96
143OÖrjan SandlerSWE7:47.92
151OGiancarlo GloderITA7:55.77
165IOsamu NaitoJPN7:56.97
177OBruno ToniolliITA7:57.30
186OJouko SalakkaFIN7:57.42
199IKevin SiroisCAN8:02.66
2013ICharles GilmoreUSA8:03.04
2112IClark KingUSA8:07.20
225ODavid HamptonGBR8:07.85
2310OColin CoatesAUS8:09.35
246IRichard TourneFRA8:11.52
2514IAndy BarronCAN8:11.84
262OJohn BlewittGBR8:16.75
2711OHerbert SchwarzFRG8:26.03
2811ILuvsansharavyn TsendMGL8:30.47