|Date||10 February 1992 — 16:00|
|Location||Anneau de Vitesse, Albertville|
|Participants||34 from 12 countries|
|Olympic Record||39.10 WR / Bonnie Blair USA / 22 February 1988|
Based on season results, it seemed likely that Bonnie Blair (USA) would retain her Olympic 500 m title. She had won all three World Cup races in which she participated. In addition, she had broken the world record in the sprint combination at test races in Davos in January, skating well below 40 seconds on both 500 metres. But competition was to be expected from China’s Ye Qiaobo, the runner-up at the 1991 World Sprint Championships and winner of a World Cup race in Albertville, and the Netherlands’ Christine Aaftink, who had twice been runner-up at World Cups. The German women were also not to be forgotten, notably Christa Luding-Rothenburger (the 1988 Olympic 1,000 m champion), Angela Hauck-Stahnke, and Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt, World Sprint Champions of 1990 and 1991, respectively.
Skating in the first pair, Aaftink’s medal chances were slashed after a poor final curve and 40.66. That time was promptly beaten by Ye with 40.51. She might have done better, as she appeared to be obstructed by pairmate Yelena Tyushnyakova, but no re-skate was allowed. Despite better openers than the Chinese, both Luding and Garbrecht failed to beat Ye’s final time, clocking 40.57 and 40.63. The fifth pair then saw Blair pull away from Hauck, beating her easily and winning the race in 40.33. For Blair, it was her second gold medal in a career that would eventually earn her five Olympic titles. Ye’s silver medal was notable as it was China’s first ever Olympic medal at the Winter Olympics. Four years earlier, she had missed the Olympics due to a doping offense at the World Sprint Championships. In Albertville she declared this was due to drugs given to her by the team doctor, whom she had trusted
|14||8I||Catriona Le May||CAN||41.59||11.09|
|20||10I||Edel Therese Høiseth||NOR||41.89||11.25|