| Event type

500 metres, Men

Date14 February 1988 — 17:00
LocationOlympic Oval, Calgary
Participants37 from 15 countries
Olympic Record 38.03 / Eric Heiden USA / 15 February 1980

There was a large field of favorites and outsiders in this event. South Korean Bae Gi-Tae had won four World Cup races, while East German Uwe-Jens Mey had taken three. American Dan Jansen had won two, but was nevertheless the top favorite. A week before the Games, he had won the World Sprint Championships at West Allis by winning three of the four distances, including both 500 ms. Also in contention were Jan Ykema, a Dutchman who had won a World Cup race in Innsbruck, and Nick Thometz, who held the world record in the event since March 1987, with 37.55.

After Ykema had lowered the Olympic Record in the first pair, Dan Jansen was due to skate in the second heat. Just hours before the race, he had learned of the death of his sister, Jane, who had long suffered of leukemia. His family insisted that he start his race, but a distracted Jansen fell in the first curve and did not finish the race. The drama for Jansen would repeat itself a few days later, when he also fell in the 1,000 m.

Next up was Sergey Fokichev, the defending champion. Despite recording the fastest opener, his 36.82 would land him just outside the medals. These were taken by the skaters in pair four, Mey and Akira Kuroiwa. Mey had been runner-up behind Jansen at West Allis, while Kuroiwa was the 1983 and 1987 World Champion. Mey clearly beat his Japanese opponent and with 36.45, he lowered the world record by a tenth of a second. Kuroiwa was three tenths behind, and narrowly missed Ykema’s time with 36.77. While East Germany had taken many Olympic speed skating titles already, Mey was the first man from that country to do so.

14IUwe-Jens MeyGDR36.45WRGold
21IJan YkemaNED36.76ORSilver
34OAkira KuroiwaJPN36.77Bronze
43OSergey FokichevURS36.82
518OBae Gi-TaeKOR36.90
65OIgor ZhelezovskyURS36.94
71OGuy ThibaultCAN36.96
83INick ThometzUSA37.16
95IYasumitsu KanehamaJPN37.25
1011IFrode RønningNOR37.31
112OYasushi KuroiwaJPN37.341
1217OVitaliy MakovetskiyURS37.35
1310OKimihiro HamayaJPN37.38
1414IGaétan BoucherCAN37.47
156IErik HenriksenUSA37.50
167OMenno BoelsmaNED37.52
1717IDaniel TurcotteCAN37.60
=1811OBjørn HagenNOR37.69
=1810IGöran JohanssonSWE37.69
207IHans-Peter OberhuberFRG37.73
218IAndré HoffmannGDR37.75
226OMarty PierceUSA37.76
239OMike RichmondAUS37.77
248OHein VergeerNED37.80
2513OJerzy DominikPOL37.83
2613IMichael HadschieffAUT37.90
279IUwe StrebFRG38.03
2815IPeter AdebergGDR38.11
2919IRobert TremblayCAN38.34
3012OHans MagnussonSWE38.60
3112IClaude NicouleauFRA38.63
3215OClaes BengtssonSWE38.66
3316IHans van HeldenFRA39.05
3414OChristian EmingerAUT39.70
3516OBehudin MerdovićYUG56.21fall
3618INikolay GulyayevURS1:02.86fall
AC2IDan JansenUSADNFfall