Athletics at the 1964 Summer Olympics – Men's 10,000 metres

The men's 10,000 metres was the longest of the seven men's track races in the Athletics at the 1964 Summer Olympics program in Tokyo. It was held on 14 October. 38 athletes from 23 nations entered, with 6 more not starting the event. The event was held as a single heat.[1]

Men's 10,000 metres
at the Games of the XVIII Olympiad
BillyMills Crossing Finish Line 1964Olympics.jpg
Billy Mills crossing the finish line
(U.S. Marine Corps photo)
VenueOlympic Stadium
Dates14 October
Competitors29 from 17 nations
1st place, gold medalist(s) Billy Mills  United States
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Mohammed Gammoudi  Tunisia
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Ron Clarke  Australia
← 1960
1968 →



World record holder Ron Clarke set the tone of the race. His tactic of surging every other lap appeared to be working. Halfway through the race, only five runners were still with Clarke: Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia, Barry Magee of New Zealand, Kokichi Tsuburaya of Japan, and Billy Mills of the United States. Magee and Tsuburaya, the local favorite, lost contact first, then Wolde. With two laps to go, only two runners were still with Clarke. On paper, it seemed to be Clarke's race. He had run a world record time of 28:15.6 while neither Gammoudi nor Mills had ever run under 29 minutes.

Mills and Clarke were running together with Gammoudi right behind as they entered the final lap. They were lapping other runners and, down the backstretch, Clarke was boxed in. He pushed Mills once, then again. Then Gammoudi pushed his way between them both and surged into the lead as they rounded the final curve. Clarke recovered and began chasing Gammoudi while Mills appeared to be too far back to be in contention. Clarke failed to catch Gammoudi, but Mills pulled out to lane 4 and sprinted past them both. His winning time of 28:24.4 was almost 50 seconds faster than he had run before and set a new Olympic record for the event. No American had ever before won the 10,000 m, nor has any other American come seriously close until Galen Rupp took the silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

American television viewers were able to hear the surprise and drama as NBC expert analyst Dick Bank[2] screamed, "Look at Mills, look at Mills" over the more sedate play-by-play announcer Bud Palmer, who seemed to miss what was unfolding.[3] For bringing that drama to the coverage, Bank was fired.[4]

The top four runners beat the Olympic record.

Place Athlete Nation Time 5000
1 Billy Mills   United States 28:24.4 OR 14:04.6
2 Mohammed Gammoudi   Tunisia 28:24.8 14:07.0
3 Ron Clarke   Australia 28:25.8 14:05.0
4 Mamo Wolde   Ethiopia 28:31.8 14:06.0
5 Leonid Ivanov   Soviet Union 28:53.2 14:13.0
6 Kōkichi Tsuburaya   Japan 28:59.3 14:09.0
7 Murray Halberg   New Zealand 29:10.8 14:16.0
8 Tony Cook   Australia 29:15.8 14:11.0
9 Gerry Lindgren   United States 29:20.6 14:12.0
10 Franc Cervan   Yugoslavia 29:21.0 14:16.0
11 Siegfried Herrmann   United Team of Germany 29:27.0 14:17.0
12 Henri Clerckx   Belgium 29:29.6 14:28.0
13 Jean Fayolle   France 29:30.8 14:27.0
14 Teruo Funai   Japan 29:33.2 14:27.0
15 Jean Vaillant   France 29:33.6 14:27.0
16 József Sütő   Hungary 29:43.0 14:36.0
17 Josef Tomas   Czechoslovakia 29:46.4 14:39.0
18 Ron Hill   Great Britain 29:53.0 14:27.0
19 Pal Benum   Norway 30:00.8 14:38.0
20 Siegfried Rothe   United Team of Germany 30:04.6 14:39.0
21 Michael Bullivant   Great Britain 30:12.0 14:28.0
22 Fergus Murray   Great Britain 30:22.4 14:29.0
23 Barry Magee   New Zealand 30:32.0 14:06.0
24 Ron Larrieu   United States 30:42.6 14:37.0
25 Pyotr Bolotnikov   Soviet Union 30:52.8 14:42.0
26 Bruce Kidd   Canada 30:56.4 14:43.0
27 Artur Hannemann   United Team of Germany 30:56.6 15:13.0
28 Watanabe Kazumi   Japan 31:00.6 15:12.0
29 Ranatunge Karunananda   Ceylon 32:21.2 16:43.0
Pascal Mfyomi   Tanzania DNF
Naftali Temu   Kenya DNF
János Pintér   Hungary DNF
Jim Hogan   Ireland DNF
Muharrem Dalkılıç   Turkey DNF
Andrei Barabaș   Romania DNF
Fernando Aguilar   Spain DNF
Mohamed Hadheb Hannachi   Tunisia DNF
Nikolay Dutov   Soviet Union DNF


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1964 Tokyo Games: Men's 10,000 metres". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  2. ^ Track & Field News • View topic – Look At Archived 2012-02-27 at the Wayback Machine. (2010-06-30). Retrieved on 2011-04-18.
  3. ^ 1964 Olympic 10,000m on YouTube (2008-04-09). Retrieved on 2011-04-18.
  4. ^ "TV COLUMN: Bank's call made Mills' upset even more memorable". U-T San Diego.