The 500 metres speed skating event at the 1924 Winter Olympics was held on 26 January 1924 at the Stade Olympique de Chamonix in Chamonix, France. One of five speed skating races to be contested at these Games, this was the first event ever contested at the Winter Olympics. The event was won by American Charles Jewtraw who became the first Winter Olympics gold medallist.
|Men's 500 metres speed skating|
at the I Olympic Winter Games
|Venue||Stade Olympique de Chamonix|
|Date||26 January 1924|
|Competitors||27 from 10 nations|
|Winning time||44.0 seconds OR|
The event required competitors to skate one and quarter laps of the 400 metre track. Under the rules of the International Skating Union, athletes raced in pairs in a straight time-trial event. Prior to the event, the pairs were determined by the drawing of lots. With 31 speed skaters from 13 nations due to compete, this was reduced to 27 from 10 nations after the withdrawal of four athletes, including Christfried Burmeister who was due to be Estonia's only representative at the inaugural Winter Games. He did not enter the Chamonix event and his withdrawal was not communicated to the organisers of the Games in time. This resulted in a slight reordering of the skaters.
Leading up the Games, the Finnish team was training in Davos where Clas Thunberg had set a time of 43.8 seconds, four tenths slower than Oscar Mathisen's world record. Mathisen's professional status prevented him from participating in these Games. The Americans took part in metric competitions at Saranac Lake, where Jewtraw set a time of 46.6 seconds. He also set a new world record in the 100 yard event in 9.4 seconds whilst Roald Larsen of Norway skated 44.6 seconds in Frogner.
Joe Moore of the United States and Eric Blomgren of Sweden became the first athletes to ever compete at the Winter Olympics, with Moore setting the first Olympic record covering the distance in 45.6 seconds. Asser Wallenius of Finland, bettered Moore's time by six-tenths of a second to move into first position with 11 skaters remaining. Next to skate was the eventual silver medallist Norway's Oskar Olsen who crossed the line in 44.2 seconds. The defending world champion Clas Thunberg and Norway's Roald Larsen had to settle for sharing the bronze medal with a time of 44.8 seconds. The gold medal performance came from pair 15 where American Jewtraw was up against Charles Gorman. The Canadian took the lead, before he was soon overtaken by Jewtraw finishing in a time of 44 seconds.
Jewtraw coming from a poor family found the sport expensive but found sponsorship from Lake Placid businessman Jack Mabbit. He had retired before the 1924 Games but returned to the sport to compete in France. After competing in the 1500 and 5000 metre events at these Games he retired for good. Jewtraw's gold medal is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Oscar Mathisen (NOR)||43.4||Davos, Switzerland||17 January 1914|||
The following records were set during this competition.
|26 January 1924||Pair 1||Joe Moore||United States||45.6||OR|
|26 January 1924||Pair 11||Asser Wallenius||Finland||45.0||OR|
|26 January 1924||Pair 12||Oskar Olsen||Norway||44.2||OR|
|26 January 1924||Pair 15||Charles Jewtraw||United States||44.0||OR|
The officials for the events were as follows.
|Judge Referee||Captain Hammerstad||Norway|
|Commissioners at the crossroads||Steen Peterson||Norway|
|Commissioners at the crossroads||Maucourt||France|
|Commissioners at the crossroads||Valley||France|
|Delegates to the athletes||Ch. Sabouret||France|
|Delegates to the athletes||Becci||France|
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- M. A. Avé, ed. (1924). Les Jeux de la VIIIe Olympiade Paris 1924 – Rapport Officiel [The Games of the VIII Olympiad Paris 1924 – Official Report] (pdf) (Report) (in French). Paris: French Olympic Committee. pp. 669–70.
- "Speed Skating at the 1924 Chamonix Winter Games". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
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- "Results of the men's 500 metres speed skating at the 1924 Winter Olympics". International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 1 September 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2020.