|Date||18 February 1992 — 16:00|
|Location||Anneau de Vitesse, Albertville|
|Participants||46 from 21 countries|
|Olympic Record||1:13.03 / Nikolay Gulyayev URS / 18 February 1988|
All three of the medalists in this event had not been seriously considered for a medal, as all the favorites failed to perform. Winner of the 500 m, Uwe-Jens Mey, did not even start because of a flu. Those who did start suffered hard in the final lap due to the difficult ice conditions. The most spectacular failure was probably Dan Jansen’s. After surprisingly missing out on a medal in the 500 m, Jansen attempted a )fly or die) race. Having the fastest times at 200 and 600 m, he recorded one of the slowest final laps to place only 26th. While Jansen had been better known as a 500 m skater, that was not the case for Igor Zhelezovsky. The Belarussian, representing the Unified Team in Albertville, had dominated the distance for years. Yet he also appeared powerless in the final meters, finishing 6th in the end. Other medal candidates, like Eric Flaim and Toshiyuki Kuroiwa, failed similarly.
But those skaters that did make it to the podium made it a close affair. The first to go below 1:15 was Japan’s Yukinori Miyabe, the lesser known, and thus far less successful, brother of Yasunori. His 1:14.92 was bettered by Olaf Zinke, an outsider from the German team, who recorded 1:14.85. The last two skaters to approach them skated against each other in pair 9. Kim Yun-Man and Gerard van Velde both finished very close to Zinke and Miyabe. Kim missed Zinke’s time by 0.01, while Van Velde’s gap with Miyabe was of the same size. In all, just 0.08 seconds separated first place from fourth.
The Olympic gold medal was by far Zinke’s greatest success, and it would remain that way. Earlier, he had placed well at some World Cup races, even winning two in Helsinki 1990, and collected titles in both East Germany and the reunited country. Kim, who won South Korea’s first ever Winter Olympic medal, would go on to win the 1995 World Sprint Championships. Miyabe would be among the best Japanese sprinters for several years, and would capture four World Cup wins over the years.
|Pos||Pair||Skater||NOC||Time||200 m||600 m|
|4||9O||Gerard van Velde||NED||1:14.93||17.50||45.15|