|Date||19 February 2018 — 20:53|
|Location||Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Olympic Park, Coastal Cluster, Gangneung|
|Participants||36 from 17 countries|
|Olympic Record||34.42 / Casey FitzRandolph USA / 11 February 2002|
|Olympic Record (2 races)||69.23 / Casey FitzRandolph USA / 11 – 12 February 2002|
Since the 2014 Olympics, the top 500 m skater had been Pavel Kulizhnikov. In both 2015 and 2016, he had won the 500 m world title, the World Sprint Championships and the 500 m World Cup. In addition, he had broken the 34-second barrier, setting a world record of 33.98 in November 2015. In 2016, he was suspended for use of the stimulant meldonium as one of many Russians to suffer that fate. His suspension was lifted as WADA acknowledged uncertainties about how long meldonium remains in the body. His 2016/2017 season, however, was negatively impacted by the affair, compounded by injury. He returned in the Olympic season, although not as dominant as before, but would not go to the Olympics. He was one of many Russian athletes barred from competed due to their doping history; Kulizhnikov had been disqualified from the World Junior Championships in 2012 after adverse analytical findings. Also missing from the field was fellow Russian Pavel Murashov, as well as the defending Olympic champion, Michel Mulder, who had failed to qualify for the Dutch team. With them out of the picture, the race was open. Four more riders had won World Cups in the running season: Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen, Laurent Dubreuil, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix and Ronald Mulder, while 2017 World Champion and 2014 runner up [Jan Smeekens] was also considered a contender.
Most of the favorites, however, did not deliver in the race, leaving room for outsiders to mount the podium. Gao Tingyu, whose best World Cup result had been 5th, set the first competitive mark at 34.65. To the delight of the crowd, home skater Cha Min-Kyu bettered this mark with 34.42, also bettering the track record. Cha had been second in a World Cup earlier in the season, but had mostly featured further down the rankings. The only skater to surpass Gao and Cha was Lorentzen. The Norwegian, winner of three World Cup races during the season, managed to silence the Korean crowds, as he equalled his personal best mark of 34.41. A private video of his brother Håkon (professional football player for Sandeford) following the race and yelling him on later made the rounds on social media and television. The gold medal was the first in the event by a Norwegian since Finn Helgesen in 1948, while Gao was the first Chinese man to win a medal in Olympic speed skating.
|1||16O||Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen||NOR||34.41||9.74||Gold|
|28||8I||Henrik Fagerli Rukke||NOR||35.500||9.93|