| Event type

500 metres, Men

Date11 February 1936 — 10:00
LocationOlympia-Eissportplatz am Rießersee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Participants36 from 14 countries
Olympic Record 43.4 / Jack Shea USA / 4 February 1932
43.4 / Bernt Evensen NOR / 13 February 1928
43.4 / Clas Thunberg FIN / 13 February 1928
StarterHans ValärSUI
StarterOskar OlsenNOR
RefereeGerrit van LaerNED
RefereeGerhard KarlsenNOR

After the cancelled 10000 m in 1928 and the disputed pack style rules in 1932), the 500 m in Garmisch also saw controversy. The event was surprisingly won by Norway’s Ivar Ballangrud. Ballangrud, was hardly a rookie: he was already a triple Olympic medallist by that time, and was the World Champion of 1926, 1932, European Champion of 1929, 1930 and 1933. He had dominated the 1936 season, winning the European and World title in the month prior to the Games. However, Ballangrud was not considered a top sprinter, and even his selection for the Norwegian team on the distance was somewhat contentious. However, the controversy lay in the fact that he beat Georg Krog, Norway’s top sprinter. While the result of the official timekeepers all agree on the times of both skaters, various (Norwegian) journalists have different accounts. It was quite common in these days for the media to keep their own stopwatches, and check on the times. Some claim Krog’s time, officially 43.5, should have been four tenths faster - owing the difference to an ambiguous call by the timekeepers to the referee. Others claim Ballangrud’s time was simply one second too fast, and should have been 44.4 seconds. Norwegian radio reporter Finn Amundsen even re-timed Ballangrud’s race from the start and finish signals on his own audiotape, and clocked 44.4, like he had during the actual race. In spite of all this, no official protest appears to have been lodged, and the result stands as listed below.

Behind the two Norwegians, several favorites competed for third. Norway’s two other contenders, Harry Haraldsen and Hans Engnestangen both fell. All four United States skaters were medal potentials, despite the absence of defending Olympic Champion Jack Shea. He was not too fond of travelling to Nazi Germany, and could not afford to stay away from his family that long. Allan Potts had lowered the World Record to 42.4 the month before the Games, but he could do no better than 6th at the Olympics. Del Lamb, winner of the sprint at the World Championships placed 5th, which left Leo Freisinger, who won the bronze medal. He narrowly edged out Shozo Ishihara, who came within a tenth of Japan’s first Olympic speed skating medal.

16Ivar BallangrudNOR43.4Gold=OR
21Georg KrogNOR43.5Silver
35Leo FreisingerUSA44.0Bronze
47Shozo IshiharaJPN44.1
515Del LambUSA44.2
=617Karl LebanAUT44.8
=610Allan PottsUSA44.8
=812Antero OjalaFIN44.9
=812Jorma RuissaloFIN44.9
=89Birger WaseniusFIN44.9
=112Reikichi NakamuraJPN45.0
=112Bob PetersenUSA45.0
1313Karl WazulekAUT45.1
=1411Alfons BērziņšLAT45.7
=149Dolf van der ScheerNED45.7
=168Jānis AndriksonsLAT45.9
=1617Lee Seong-DeokJPN45.9
187Axel JohanssonSWE46.1
=198Ossi BlomqvistFIN46.2
=1916Willi SandnerGER46.2
215Ferdinand PreindlAUT46.4
=224Aleksander MittEST46.6
=2210Kunio NandoJPN46.6
=2411Lou DijkstraNED46.7
=2418Jan LangedijkNED46.7
=2416Gustav SlanecAUT46.7
271Ben BlaisseNED46.9
2814Heinz SamesGER47.0
293Ken KennedyAUS47.4
3018Jaromír TurnovskýTCH47.8
314Tommy WhiteCAN49.6
3215Oldřich HančTCH49.8
333James GraeffeBEL54.6
3413Harry HaraldsenNOR54.9
356Charles de LigneBEL1:44.6
DNF14Hans EngnestangenNOR