first great Winter Olympics Champions, Irving Jaffee
won gold medals in both the 5,000-
Meter (9:40.8) and 10,000-Meter (19:13.6)
Speed Skating events at the 1932 Winter
Games in Lake Placid, New York.
However, it was Jaffee’s unsuccessful
quest for an Olympic gold medal in
the 10,000-Meter event four years earlier
that resulted in one of the Winter Games’ most lasting
competition had completed six of eight
heats in the 10,000, with Jaffee, having
topped Norway’s World Champion
Bernt Evansen, holding the gold position.
High temperatures caused the St.
Moritz ice to be non-skatable, and in an
unprecedented move, the Norwegian
referee ruled the competition “no contest.” The
International Olympic Committee (IOC) conferred and overruled the referee, recognizing Jaffee as the
However, soon after, the
International Skating Federation overturned
the IOC’s decision. Two days
earlier, Jaffee’s fourth-place finish in
the 5,000-Meter event marked the highest
Winter Olympics finish ever by an American.
In 1934, although he had never
skated more than 10,000 meters before, Jaffee set the World
record in the 25-
Mile Skating Marathon. Irving Jaffee
was elected to the United States Skating
Hall of Fame in 1940.