|Date||18 February 1994 — 14:00|
|Participants||43 from 17 countries|
|Olympic Record||1:13.03 / Nikolay Gulyayev URS / 18 February 1988|
This event turned out to be a battle between two men fighting for their final chance for an Olympic gold medal: American Dan Jansen and Igor Zhelezovsky of Belarus, less known by the general public. Both men had had a great career, but lacked Olympic gold. Zhelezovsky had won six World Sprint Championships, and had won an Olympic bronze medal in 1988, but had failed at the Albertville Games. Jansen, who had hoped to win the Olympic 500 m on his fourth attempt had failed with a near fall just days earlier. His chances in the 1,000 m were considered slimmer, although he had won the 1000 m World Cup race on the same rink in December. Zhelezovsky hadn’t won any 1000 m during the season, but had been consistently among the best. Looking at the season’s best times, favorite for the gold was Canada’s Kevin Scott, who had lowered the world record to 1:12.54 in December and had won the final 1000 m at the World Sprint Championships. The first 1000 m in that same championship had gone to Olympic 500 m medallist Sergey Klevchenya, who was just above the world record with 1:12.55.
Zhelezovsky and Klevchenya started in the very first pair. Klevchenya went off fastest, but was caught by the Belarussian’s usual strong final lap. With 1:12.72, Zhelezovsky was not far off the world record, and Klevchenya trailed at 1:12.85. Three pairs later, Dan Jansen started. At 600 m, he was faster than both Zhelezovsky and Klevchenya, but then had a slight mishap in the first curve of the last lap. But Jansen went on to finish strongly, coming home in a world record of 1:12.43. It was immediately clear this would be the winning time, and Jansen could finally celebrate at the Olympics. At the press conference, he was congratulated by phone by US President Bill Clinton, a courtesy not extended to other American winners at these Games. Like Jansen, Zhelezovsky also ended his career, but with an Olympic silver medal, the first one ever for Belarus.
The victory was an emotional one for Jansen and his family but also for all his fans. He had been either the best or second-best sprinter in the world since around 1988, but had known nothing but disappointment at the Olympics, starting with the 1988 Calgary 500, when he stumbled and fell at 100 metres, having to start the race only hours after hearing that his sister, Jane, had died from leukemia. But he had always faced his defeats with grace and magnanimity. The Official Report of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games wrote, “At the moment there were no Norwegians, Dutch, Americans, or people of other nationalities among the spectators, only fans of Dan Jansen.” When his world record time was announced, his fellow competitors yelled and cheered for him. Jansen skated an emotional victory lap, carrying his 8½-month-old daughter in his arms. Her name was Jane.
|Pos||Pair||Competitor||NOC||Time||200 m||600 m|
|9||11O||Gerard van Velde||NED||1:13.81||17.29||44.57|
|15||9O||Nico van der Vlies||NED||1:14.29||17.23||44.70|
|=30||19I||Alessandro De Taddei||ITA||1:15.62||17.46||45.83|