|Date||19 February 2002 — 13:00|
|Location||Utah Olympic Oval, Kearns, Utah|
|Participants||48 from 17 countries|
|Olympic Record||1:47.87 WR / Ådne Søndrål NOR / 12 February 1998|
|Starter||Matthijs de Vrijer||NED|
There were countless potential medalists in this event. Among them were the gold and silver medalists of 1998, Ådne Søndrål and Ids Postma, who had divided the four World Championships held since the Nagano Games between them, the Norwegian winning in 1998 and 2001, and the Dutchman in 1999 and 2000. In the running season, World Cup races had also been won by Dustin Molicki, Derek Parra and Petter Andersen. The latter had shared his victory with Jakko Jan Leeuwangh, who didn’t even make the Dutch team, as had Martin Hersman and Erben Wennemars, also World Cup medalists earlier in the season.
Not among those favorites was Jochem Uytdehaage, whose selection at the Dutch Olympic Trials had been somewhat controversial due to his lack of previous achievements at the distance. But with an Olympic gold medal from the 5,000 m in the pocket, the Dutchman skated the best 1,500 m of his life. With the best final lap of the competition, he broke Lee Gyu-Hyeok’s world record and lowered it to 1:44.57. Of the pre-race favorites, only one man was able to beat this time. Having finished second behind Uytdehaage in the 5,000 m, Derek Parra now took home the gold. A former inline skating World Champion, he had switched to speed skating in 1996 for a chance to compete in the Olympics. Having been an alternate in 1998, his results slowly improved, winning his first international prize at the 2001 World Single Distance Champions; a silver medal in the 1,500 m. He confirmed his status in that event by winning a World Cup race in November 2001, his only international win prior to his Olympic title.
The duel for the bronze was an interesting one, between Søndrål and Joey Cheek. Primarily a sprinter, Cheek had taken off incredibly fast, leading Parra’s splits by four tenths at the bell, and Søndrål by a full 1.75 seconds. As Cheek struggled on the final lap, Søndrål made up for the difference, beating the American by just 0.08 at the finish line.
|Pos||Pair||Skater||NOC||Time||300 m||700 m||1100 m|
|14||19O||J. P. Shilling||USA||1:46.29||23.73||49.83||1:17.06|