| Event type

5,000 metres, Women

Date20 February 1998 — 15:00
LocationM-Wave, Nagano
Participants15 from 9 countries
Olympic Record 7:14.13 WR / Yvonne van Gennip NED / 28 February 1988
StarterHeinrich BeckGER
RefereeJan MarmstålSWE

As in the 3,000 m, two German women were assumed to duke it out in the 5,000 m. The top favorite was Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, who already had won the 3,000 m and was runner-up in the 1,500 m. With 7:03.26, Niemann held the World Record, and had won the 1997 World title and 1992 Olympic title. At the only international competition earlier in the season in Innsbruck, Niemann had also won, but she had beaten compatriot Claudia Pechstein by just 0.08. Pechstein had also surprisingly beaten Niemann at this distance at the 1994 Olympics, and was hoping for another upset. Third place was open to a number of contenders, including 1996 and 1997 World Championships runner-up Carla Zijlstra and Italian Elena Belci, having placed 3rd in Innsbruck.

Belci did not prove to be in great shape, and could do no better than 7:15.58. Of the Dutch women, it was not Zijlstra, but Barbara de Loor, who seemed headed for a medal, but she was beaten by the final lap of her opponent in the previous pair, Lyudmila Prokasheva. A strong distance skater from Kazakhstan, Prokasheva had been runner-up at the World Allround Championships in 1995. With her 7:11.14, she would capture the first Olympic speed skating medal for Kazakhstan. Her time was far behind the other two medalists, however.

Gunda Niemann was the first of the Germans to start. On a sound pace - her 3,000 m split would have placed her 4th in that event – she set out to break her own world record. She succeeded, en passant becoming the first woman to complete 5,000 m within 7 minutes: 6:59.65. With this assignment, Pechstein departed in the final pair. Initially slower than Niemann, Pechstein slowly came closer to the leader’s splits. At 3,400 m, she first surpassed Niemann, but her lead remained within a second. Having a 7-tenth lead, she went into the final lap. It appeared to be slower than Niemann’s, but Pechstein held out until the finish line, pushing her skate home in 6:59.61. Pechstein lost her world record a month later to Niemann, who shaved off a second at the World Championships in Calgary.

18OClaudia PechsteinGER6:59.61GoldWR
27OGunda Niemann-StirnemannGER6:59.65SilverWR
35OLyudmila ProkashovaKAZ7:11.14BronzeOR
46OBarbara de LoorNED7:11.81
52OTonny de JongNED7:12.77OR
63OCarla ZijlstraNED7:12.89
75IKirstin HolumUSA7:14.20
86IEmese HunyadyAUT7:15.23
94IElena BelciITA7:15.58
107IJennifer RodriguezUSA7:16.78
111OMie UeharaJPN7:21.72
123ISvetlana VysokovaRUS7:22.18
131IAnette TønsbergNOR7:28.39
148IHeike WarnickeGER7:30.83
152INami NemotoJPN7:36.77
DNS4OTatyana TrapeznikovaRUS