Athletics at the 1972 Summer Olympics – Men's 800 metres
|Men's 800 metres|
at the Games of the XX Olympiad
Left-right: Mike Boit, Dave Wottle, Yevhen Arzhanov
The race went out very quickly for the first 200 m, with the two Kenyans, Boit and Ouko, pushing the pace. Wottle lagged far behind the rest of the field for the first 300 m, only catching up to the pack around the end of the first lap; the leaders went through the first 400 m in 52.3 seconds. Yevgeniy Arzhanov, the pre-race favorite, made a strong move on the final backstretch, and with only 18 m remaining seemed to have clinched the victory; Wottle's final burst of speed, however, brought him across the line nine inches (23 cm) ahead of Arzhanov, who stumbled and fell in desperation in the final step of the race.
Much has been written about Wottle's technique in winning this race with virtually even 26 second splits. What looked like blazing speed at the end was relative to the other runners who were losing speed after running the first part of the race so fast.
Wottle had equaled the world record winning the US trials. Still, few had expected Wottle, who had suffered tendinitis in his knees earlier that summer, to defeat Arzhanov, as the Soviet had not lost an 800 m final in four years, and the American win over their Cold War rivals added extra drama to an already exciting race; Wottle himself was so surprised at winning the race that he forgot to remove his golf cap when the U.S. national anthem was played at the medal ceremony. When reporters later asked him if his failure to remove the cap, a good luck charm which he always wore while racing, was a protest against the Vietnam War, Wottle replied that he had merely forgotten and formally apologized to the American people.
Qualification rule: First 3 of each heat advance directly (Q) to the semifinals.
Qualification rule: First 2 of each semifinal (Q) and the next 2 fastest (q) advance to the final.
|2||1||Dieter Fromm||East Germany||1:48.1||Q|
|3||1||Dave Cropper||Great Britain||1:48.4|
|4||1||Josef Schmid||West Germany||1:48.8|
|8||1||Yevgeniy Volkov||Soviet Union||1:50.1|
|1||2||Dave Wottle||United States||1:48.7||Q|
|2||2||Franz-Josef Kemper||West Germany||1:48.8||Q|
|5||2||Ivan Ivanov||Soviet Union||1:49.6|
|8||2||Nimir Hussein Angelo Koko||Sudan||1:51.1|
|2||3||Yevgeniy Arzhanov||Soviet Union||1:46.3||Q|
|3||3||Andy Carter||Great Britain||1:46.5||q|
|3||Ken Swenson||United States||DNF|
|Dave Wottle||United States||1:45.86|
|Yevgeniy Arzhanov||Soviet Union||1:45.89|
|4||Franz-Josef Kemper||West Germany||1:46.50|
|6||Andy Carter||Great Britain||1:46.55|
|8||Dieter Fromm||East Germany||1:47.96|
- "Athletics at the 1972 Munich Summer Games: Men's 800 metres". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Moore, Blaine (2010-08-20). The Best Olympic 800m Run in History » Dave Wottle in 1972 | Run to Win. News.runtowin.com. Retrieved on 2018-06-12.
- Stewart, Shawn (2 August 2012). What We Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalist, Dave Wottle. Classical Conversations. Retrieved on 2018-06-12.
- Aatish Taseer (5 August 2004). "Too Close To Call". Time. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.