Athletics at the 1960 Summer Olympics – Men's 800 metres

The men's 800 metres middle distance event at the 1960 Olympic Games took place between August 31 and September 2.[1] Fifty-one athletes from 35 nations competed.[2] The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress.

Men's 800 metres
at the Games of the XVII Olympiad
VenueOlympic Stadium
DatesAugust 31 (heats and quarterfinals)
September 1 (semifinals)
September 2 (final)
Competitors51 from 35 nations
Winning time1:46.48 OR
Medalists
1st place, gold medalist(s) Peter Snell
 New Zealand
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Roger Moens
 Belgium
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) George Kerr
 British West Indies
← 1956
1964 →

All three nations earning medals in 1960 were new to the podium in the event. The event was won by Peter Snell of New Zealand, the nation's first medal in the men's 800 metres. Snell would defend his title in 1964. Roger Moens took silver, earning Belgium's first medal. George Kerr took bronze for the British West Indies, one of only two medals that nation earned in its brief Olympic history (the 4 × 400 metres relay bronze a few days later would be the other). After four straight gold medals from 1936 to 1956, the United States failed to even make the final.

SummaryEdit

Only six men were seeded into the final. From the gun Christian Wägli led the pack of five runners off the turn, with only Manfred Matuschewski already beaten. Falling in the back of the pack was Peter Snell from lane 6, the far outside. Wägli held the lead down the final backstretch and through the final turn, with Roger Moens moving in behind him ready to pounce out of a still tight pack. Snell was still at the back, boxed in with George Kerr to his outside. Coming off the turn, Moens pounced, passing Wägli in lane 2 with clear sailing to victory. But Moens' move broke up the pack, it was a free-for-all sprint to the finish. With Wägli struggling on the rail, Snell had a path down lane 1. On the outside Kerr passed Paul Schmidt and was sprinting in lane 3. A surprised Moens looked to his inside to see who the competitor was who was passing him. It was Snell with more power. Moens tried to accelerate again but Snell's strength was too much. Looking at Snell again he leaned for the line but too little too late to catch Snell.

BackgroundEdit

This was the 14th appearance of the event, which is one of 12 athletics events to have been held at every Summer Olympics. None of the finalists from 1956 returned. Roger Moens of Belgium was the favorite; he had set the world record in 1955 but missed the 1956 Games due to injury. George Kerr of Jamaica (then competing as part of the British West Indies) was "expected to be his biggest challenger".[2]

Guyana, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Rhodesia, and Tunisia appeared in the event for the first time; the British West Indies federation competed for the only Games of its existence, though members Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago had each previously had competitors in the 800 metres. Great Britain and the United States each made their 13th appearance, tied for the most among all nations.

Competition formatEdit

For the first time, the 800 metres was run over four rounds. The final, which had been 9 men from 1920 to 1952 but was reduced to 8 in 1956, was further reduced to only 6 men in 1960. There were nine first-round heats, each with between 6 and 8 athletes (before withdrawals); the top three runners in each heat advanced to the quarterfinals. There were four quarterfinals, each with 6 or 7 athletes (again, before withdrawals); the top three in each heat advanced to the semifinals. There were two semifinals with 6 athletes each; the top three runners in each semifinal advanced to the six-man final.[2][3]

RecordsEdit

These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1948 Summer Olympics.

World record   Roger Moens (BEL) 1:45.7 Oslo, Norway 3 August 1955
Olympic record   Tom Courtney (USA) 1:47.7 Melbourne, Australia 26 November 1956

Six of the 12 semifinalists came in under the Olympic record time, but George Kerr was the first and fastest in that round, setting the record at 1:47.26. That lasted only until the final, however, as all three medalists beat the time. Peter Snell's gold-winning 1:46.48 stood as the new Olympic record after the event.

ScheduleEdit

For the first time since 1920, two rounds (round 1 and the quarterfinals) were held on the same day.

All times are Central European Time (UTC+1)

Date Time Round
Wednesday, 31 August 1960 11:00
16:35
Round 1
Quarterfinals
Thursday, 1 September 1960 16:40 Semifinals
Friday, 2 September 1960 16:45 Final

ResultsEdit

HeatsEdit

The fastest three runners in each of the nine heats advanced to the quarterfinal round.

Heat 1Edit

Lambrechts ran in heat 2. Parsch ran in heat 7.

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Donal Smith   New Zealand 1:51.86 Q
2 Valery Bulyshev   Soviet Union 1:51.83 Q
3 Zbigniew Makomaski   Poland 1:52.70 Q
4 Brian Hewson   Great Britain 1:54.73
5 Yair Pantilat   Israel 1:54.86
6 George Johnson   Liberia 1:56.04
Jos Lambrechts   Belgium DNS
Péter Parsch   Hungary DNS

Heat 2Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Tom Farrell   Great Britain 1:49.05 Q
2 Jerry Siebert   United States 1:49.08 Q
3 Jos Lambrechts   Belgium 1:49.24 Q
4 Pierre-Yvon Lenoir   France 1:49.41
5 Jaromír Šlégr   Czechoslovakia 1:50.23
6 Moussa Said   Ethiopia 1:50.49

Heat 3Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Peter Snell   New Zealand 1:48.22 Q
2 Christian Wägli   Switzerland 1:48.88 Q
3 Ernie Cunliffe   United States 1:48.95 Q
4 István Rózsavölgyi   Hungary 1:49.51
Ismael Delgado   Puerto Rico DNS
Abdul Ghafar Ghafoori   Afghanistan DNS

Heat 4Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Tony Blue   Australia 1:50.82 Q
2 Ergas Leps   Canada 1:50.93 Q
3 Manfred Matuschewski   United Team of Germany 1:51.17 Q
4 Vasily Savinkov   Soviet Union 1:51.49
5 Konstantinos Moragiemos   Greece 1:54.60
6 Ahmed Lazreg   Morocco 1:55.91

Heat 5Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Abram Kryvosheiev   Soviet Union 1:53.49 Q
2 Jörg Balke   United Team of Germany 1:53.72 Q
3 John Wenk   Great Britain 1:54.27 Q
4 Norbert Haupert   Luxembourg 1:54.83
5 Frederick Owusu   Ghana 1:55.41
6 Egon Oehri   Liechtenstein 2:00.49

Heat 6Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Roger Moens   Belgium 1:50.73 Q
2 Per Knuts   Sweden 1:51.36 Q
3 Lajos Kovács   Hungary 1:51.45 Q
4 Stefan Lewandowski   Poland 1:51.75
5 Svavar Markússon   Iceland 1:52.88
6 Abdeslem Dargouth   Tunisia 1:54.87

Heat 7Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 George Kerr   British West Indies 1:51.11 Q
2 Terry Sullivan   Rhodesia 1:51.26 Q
3 Péter Parsch   Hungary 1:51.34 Q
4 Borut Ingolič   Yugoslavia 1:51.51
5 Pertti Ålander   Finland 1:52.20
6 Zbigniew Orywał   Poland 1:55.89
A. Nur Farah   Somalia DNS

Heat 8Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Paul Schmidt   United Team of Germany 1:50.97 Q
2 Rudolf Klaban   Austria 1:50.96 Q
3 Ronnie Delany   Ireland 1:51.19 Q
4 Joe Mullins   Canada 1:51.46
5 Gianfranco Baraldi   Italy 1:52.15
6 Julio Gómez   Spain 1:53.90
7 Somsakdi Tongaram   Thailand 1:57.24

Heat 9Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Tom Murphy   United States 1:52.30 Q
2 Ralph Gomes   Guyana 1:53.06 Q
3 Ekrem Koçak   Turkey 1:59.12 Q
4 Sig Ohlemann   Canada 2:07.40
Julian Brown   Bahamas DNS
Wim Esajas   Suriname DNS

QuarterfinalsEdit

The fastest three runners in each of the four heats advanced to the semifinal round.

Quarterfinal 1Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Tom Murphy   United States 1:48.12 Q
2 Christian Wägli   Switzerland 1:48.15 Q
3 Manfred Matuschewski   United Team of Germany 1:48.24 Q
4 Donal Smith   New Zealand 1:48.52
5 Terry Sullivan   Rhodesia 1:50.01
Jos Lambrechts   Belgium DNS
Péter Parsch   Hungary DNS

Quarterfinal 2Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Paul Schmidt   United Team of Germany 1:51.38 Q
2 Abram Krivosheyev   Soviet Union 1:51.40 Q
3 Jerry Siebert   United States 1:51.53 Q
4 Zbigniew Makomaski   Poland 1:51.72
5 Ralph Gomes   Guyana 1:52.47
6 Lajos Kovács   Hungary 1:52.55
7 Per Knuts   Sweden 1:52.91

Quarterfinal 3Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 George Kerr   British West Indies 1:49.58 Q
2 Ernie Cunliffe   United States 1:49.83 Q
3 Tony Blue   Australia 1:50.05 Q
4 John Wenk   Great Britain 1:50.13
5 Valery Bulyshev   Soviet Union 1:50.74
6 Ronnie Delany   Ireland 151.42

Quarterfinal 4Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Roger Moens   Belgium 1:48.69 Q
2 Peter Snell   New Zealand 1:48.84 Q
3 Jörg Balke   United Team of Germany 1:48.98 Q
4 Rudolf Klaban   Austria 1:50.32
5 Tom Farrell   Great Britain 1:50.84
6 Ergas Leps   Canada 1:52.13
7 Ekrem Koçak   Turkey 1:52.66

SemifinalsEdit

The fastest three runners in each of the two heats advanced to the final round.

Semifinal 1Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 George Kerr   British West Indies 1:47.26 Q, OR
2 Christian Wägli   Switzerland 1:47.40 Q
3 Manfred Matuschewski   United Team of Germany 1:47.54 Q
4 Jörg Balke   United Team of Germany 1:47.63
5 Tony Blue   Australia 1:47.97
6 Tom Murphy   United States 1:48.29

Semifinal 2Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Peter Snell   New Zealand 1:47.34 Q
2 Roger Moens   Belgium 1:47.49 Q
3 Paul Schmidt   United Team of Germany 1:47.95 Q
4 Jerry Siebert   United States 1:48.20
5 Abram Krivosheyev   Soviet Union 1:48.25
6 Ernie Cunliffe   United States 1:50.92

FinalEdit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
  Peter Snell   New Zealand 1:46.48 OR
  Roger Moens   Belgium 1:46.55
  George Kerr   British West Indies 1:47.25
4 Paul Schmidt   United Team of Germany 1:47.82
5 Christian Wägli   Switzerland 1:48.19
6 Manfred Matuschewski   United Team of Germany 1:52.21

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1960 Rome Summer Games: Men's 800 metres". sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "800 metres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  3. ^ Official Report, pp. 80–83.