|Date||14 February 1980 — 10:35-11:55|
|Location||James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval, Lake Placid|
|Participants||31 from 14 countries|
This was the first women’s speed skating event of the 1980 Winter Olympics. There was no clear favorite but the last two World Champions had both won the distance at those tournaments, and Nataliya Petrusyova (1980) and Beth Heiden (1979) were considered to have a slight edge. Heiden started in the first pair, crossing in 2:13.10, an Olympic record and a personal best. But in the third pair, Dutchwoman Ria Visser, the 1979 Dutch all-around champion, finished in 2:12.35 to move into the lead. She skated with Petrusyova, who surprisingly struggled, finishing in 2:14.15. In the fifth pair, Visser’s teammate Annie Borckink was paired with Soviet 70s star Tatyana Barabash, who was no longer considered a challenger in this event. Borckink had been skating in Dutch meets since 1973 and had three times won the 1,000 at the Dutch Championships, but she had never won a distance at an international meet, and her best all-around finish in an international tournament was eighth at the 1977 World Championships. But she started well, although she was behind Visser’s time at 1,100 metres, only to finish very strongly, winning a surprising gold medal by 1.4 seconds with a time of 2:10.95. Borckink skated for one more year but never won another international distance race or tournament. Visser would continue to compete thru 1988, winning the Dutch Championships in 1983-85. The 1-2 finish by the Dutch women was a huge upset. Many years later, Visser would comment that the Dutch women were skating so poorly in 1980 that it was being considered not to enter a women’s team at Lake Placid.
|Pos||Pair||Skater||NOC||Time||300 m||700 m||1100 m|
|4||4I||Bjørg Eva Jensen||NOR||2:12.59||28.17||1:01.18||1:35.79|
|15||8O||Sijtje van der Lende||NED||2:16.05||28.37||1:01.84||1:37.54|