|Date||16 February 1998 — 15:00|
|Participants||34 from 15 countries|
|Olympic Record||2:00.68 / Yvonne van Gennip NED / 27 February 1988|
For years, the only woman to have gone faster than 2 minutes in the 1500 m was Karin Kania, who recorded 1:59.30 in 1987. In the 1997-98 season, her time was finally beaten, by sprinter Catriona Le May Doan, who set a new record of 1:57.87. But normally, the 1500 m was the domain of the German woman, notably Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, who had won three of the four World Cup races that year, as well as the 1997 World Championships. The remaining World Cup race had been won by defending champion Emese Hunyady of Austria. Other medal hopefuls were Anni Friesinger, Claudia Pechstein and Chris Witty.
Marianne Timmer was at best a medal outsider, despite having won the bronze at the 1997 World Championships as an early clap skate adapter. In the Olympic season, she had not medaled internationally, and was drawn early in the program. Better known as a sprinter, she got off quickly but held on, breaking the world record to her own and everybody’s surprise: 1:57.58. Amazed and tired, she fell into the arms of her coach, Peter Mueller.
Timmer then looked on as others tried to beat her time. The only skater who could match her fast start was Le May, but she faded quickly and placed only 13th. With one pair to go, Chris Witty had come closest to Timmer’s time, with 1:58.97. The last pair featured Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, the dominating female skater of the decade. Having to skate alone due to her pairmate’s withdrawal, she too could not beat Timmer’s time. Her silver medal was Niemann-Stirnemann’s 7th Olympic medal, and her third silver.
|Pos||Pair||Competitor||NOC||Time||300 m||700 m||1100 m|
|13||16O||Catriona Le May Doan||CAN||2:02.19||25.24||54.59||1:26.63|
|18||11I||Tonny de Jong||NED||2:03.19||27.07||57.88||1:30.22|
|22||9O||Barbara de Loor||NED||2:04.05||27.66||58.11||1:30.51|