Speed Skating Hall of Fame

Anne Henning

Born: September 6, 1955 - Raleigh, North Carolina (USA)

Anne Elizabeth Henning from Raleigh, North Carolina, became the youngest Olympic speed skating champion when she won the Olympic 500 m Title in Sapporo 1972, only 16 years old.

In 1971 she set two new World Records on 500 m, only 15 years old, winning both 500 m events at the World Sprint Championship at Inzell in 1971, and placing second in the overall competition.

In Sapporo Henning was paired with Canadian Sylvia Burka on the 500 m. Henning had first outer lane, but she was so much faster than Burka that she had almost caught her when they came into the crossing section. Henning was clearly obstructed by Burka, but she still finished in a new Olympic Record - 43,70. Burka was disqualified and Henning was allowed a reskate. In the rerun she improved her time to 43,33. As her initial time would have been good enough to win the gold, it was probably a mistake for her to reskate. When she was trying to win her second Olympic gold on the 1000 m the next day, she ended up with a bronze medal. Henning described her legs as being "dead" in this race.

She decided to retire from speed skating after this season, still only 16 years old. She could not stand the work, the pressure and the schedule anymore and headed for college after ending her speed skating career. She reappeared for the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck as an expert TV commentator for ABC. The same year she successfully joined the Women’s Superstars competition, a television sports competition where athletes compete in sports other than their own, winning three Women’s Superstars titles in a row (1976-1978).

Bjarte Hetland, December 22, 2013


Career summary


Podia at championships

yearpositionchampionshipplace
19712 World Championship SprintInzellFRG
19721 Olympic Winter Games 500 metersSapporoJPN
3 Olympic Winter Games 1000 metersSapporoJPN

World Records

#disciplinerecorddateplace
1500 meters0:42.91Feb 20, 1971InzellFRG
2500 meters0:42.75Feb 21, 1971InzellFRG
3500 meters0:42.5Jan 7, 1972DavosSUI
41000 meters1:27.3Jan 8, 1972DavosSUI

Personal Bests

distancetimedateplace
500m0:42.06Nov 24, 1971InzellFRG
1000m1:27.3Jan 8, 1972DavosSUI
1500m2:27.3Jan 16, 1972Madonna di CampiglioITA
3000m5:25.9Dec 5, 1970InnsbruckAUT