Following the 1500 m, the delegation leaders of four of the six speed skating countries submitted a letter to the organising committee. They protested the American racing style, which in their eyes made the competition “a parody of what a fine and fair speed race should be”. Their observation that races were skated at a slow pace to be decided in the final laps was shared by the organisation. For the 10000 m, each skater had to take the lead once, and lap times had to be 45 seconds or faster. Although this was intended to improve quality of the races, it just made things worse.
The first heat was won by Canada’s Alex Hurd, but he was disqualified later, following protests by Norway and Finland. Hurd had exceeded the minimum lap time during the race, as had third-placed Edwin Wedge (USA) and fifth-placed Shozo Ishihara (JPN). The second heat saw Bernt Evensen taking the lead, but he was fouled by Frank Stack of Canada, who passed the Norwegian on the inside. Evensen did manage to finish, and his protest against the Canadian was upheld by the referee. At this point, all four Norwegians had qualified for the final, giving them a great opportunity for teamwork.
However, the Canadians then protested, wanting the disqualifications of Hurd and Stack lifted. A formal meeting was held to discuss the situation, but no changes were made. The Canadians pressed on, and a compromise was reached in which the three disqualified skaters from the first heat, including Hurd, would be allowed to skate in the final. This did not satisfy the Canadian delegation, and Patrick Mulqueen (chairman of the Canadian NOC) then threatened to withdraw his country’s delegation from the Games. The other nations eventually gave in, and the referee decided that the heats would be re-run the next morning, and the final was moved to 8 February.
The skaters themselves had not been present at these meetings, and upon finding out the heat results had been annulled, they protested, led by the Americans and Norwegians. It took an hour before they could be persuaded to compete - according to the Norwegians the Americans were slipped dollar bills by the town mayor so they would skate. Remarkably, the results were the same as in the original races (not counting the disqualifications), but this meant six North Americans faced two Europeans in the final.
For 24 laps, the race was slow-paced, only to explode in the final lap. Jaffee took the lead, but the pack was close and there was a lot of pushing. Hurd and Schroeder fell in the final curve, while Jaffee sped away towards the finish line. In an attempt to throw himself at the finish line, he fell but stayed ahead of Ivar Ballangrud, Frank Stack and Edwin Wedge, who also hit the ice in an attempt to move into bronze medal position. Only a few meters separated the first six skaters.