Quick Intro: 1980 Winter Olympics Speed Skating
The 1980 Winter Olympics speed skating event in Lake Placid was a bit of a one-man show. America's Eric Heiden put on one of the most dominating performances in Olympic history at the Olympic Ice Center. The XIII Winter Olympic Games took place from Feb.13 to Feb. 23.
The men's events in speed skating at the 1980 Winter Olympics were all won by Heiden. It was the only time a speed skater swept all events in one Games. Heiden took home five gold medals, crossing first in the 500 meters, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, and 10000m. He set four Olympic records along the way. The Norwegians challenged him in nearly every speed skating event at the 1980 Winter Olympics, and although none took the top podium, Kay Stenshjemmet, Terje Andersen, and Tom Erik Oxholm combined for five medals.
The women's events in speeding skating at the 1980 Winter Olympics also featured a Heiden on the podium, but the results were much more balanced than the men. Bjørg Eva captured Norway's only gold, winning the 3000m just ahead of East Germany's Sabine Becker and America's Beth Heiden, Eric's sister. The other powerhouse country entering the 1980 Winter Olympics in speed skating, the Netherlands, went 1-2 in the 1500m, by way of Annie Borckink and Ria Visser. Becker took bronze in the event, while her German teammate, Karin Enke, won the 500m just edging out American Leah Poulos-Mueller. The sprinting specialist Poulos-Mueller also took silver in the 1000m behind Natalya Petrusyova of the Soviet Union.
It was a family affair for the U.S. at the 1980 Winter Olympics in speed skating. Team USA sent 11 speed skaters to Lake Placid, including two pairs of siblings (Eric and Beth Heiden, Mary and Sarah Docter) and a married couple (Peter Mueller and Leah Poulos-Mueller).