History of Olympic Speed Skating
The history of Olympic speed skating dates back to the first ever Olympic Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, France. The 500m event was won by American Charles Jewtraw, a native of Lake Placid, New York. This was the first speed skating event held at the Winter Olympics. The 1924 Winter Olympics featured five speed skating events; in addition to the 500m, they also raced the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m, plus an all-around competition.
For the 1932 Winter Olympic speed skating competition, held in Lake Placid, competition took place under American federation rules, meaning competion took place in packs, much like today's short track speed skating, instead of against the clock. Pack skating outraged many European nations due to the advantage it gave the US team, as was evidenced by the US sweep of the gold medals in speed skating. Pack skating was eliminated for the 1936 Winter Games.
The 1932 Winter Olympics also saw the first women's speed skating events, although only in exhibition. Women's events would not become part of the medal competition until 1960, with four events-500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m.
The 2010 Winter Olympic speed skating competition was historic on many accounts. As Chinese short track skater Wang Meng became the most accomplished female short track skater ever with her three gold medals, American Apolo Anton Ohno became the Winter Olympics' most decroated competitor after winning his eighth medal. Latvia's Haralds Silovs also made history by becoming the first athlete to participate in both short track and long track speed skating on the same day.
The Americans have a rich tradition of winning in Olympic speed skating. From its first medal in 1924 through 2010, the United States has been one of the dominant teams in Olympic speed skating competition. After the 2010 Olympics, the US ranks third with 29 gold, 22 silver, sixteen bronze for 67 total medals behind the Netherlands (27 gold, 29 silver, 26 bronze for 82 total) and Norway (25 gold, 28 silver, 27 bronze for 80 total). US speed skaters Eric Heiden (five gold medals in 1980), Bonnie Blair (five gold and a bronze in three Olympics), and Ohno (two gold, two silver, and four bronze in three Olympics) are the most decorated speed skaters in US Olympic speed skating history.
source: US Speedskating History