The top sprinter in recent years had been Soviet Yevgeny Kulikov, who had set four world records in the 500 at Medeo in 1975, leaving it at 37.00. He was challenged by his teammate Valery Muratov, who interrupted his record run, setting one world record himself at Medeo in 1975. Strangely neither had won the 1975 World Sprints, that going to their teammate Aleksandr Safranov, with Kulikov second and Muratov third, but Safranov was better in the 1,000 and would not compete in the 500 in Innsbruck. The first fast time in the event was set by American Peter Mueller in the second pair, posting 39.57. Kulikov was off in the next pair and his fast start, 100 in 9.86, which was the best time of the race, brought him home in 39.17 to take the lead. Nobody approached that time in the next six pairs, with Muratov going off in the 10th with the United States’ Dan Immerfall. Immerfall was a challenger, having won the 500 at the 1976 World Juniors in January, and winning one of the 500s at the 1973 World Sprints. Muratov started in 9.96, while Immerfall had a slow start with 10.13. And that set the stage for their finish as Muratov came home in 39.25, followed by Immerfall in 39.54. Though they did not catch Kulikov, who won the gold medal, this brought them the silver and bronze medals. This was the highlight of Kulikov’s competitive career, and his performances fell off after 1976, although in 1981 he would set another world record of 36.91 at Medeo, the first skater to better 37 seconds. In March 1976, Immerfall would place second at the 1976 World Sprints, winning both 500s.