Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Speed Skating
Inducted: 1979
Country: United States
Born: September 15, 1906 in New York, New York
Died: March 1981

One of America’s 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 controversies. The 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 event winner.

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.

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