Athletics at the 1988 Summer Olympics – Men's 800 metres
The men's 800 metres at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea had an entry list of 70 competitors from 53 nations, with nine qualifying heats (70), four second-round races (32) and two semifinals (16), before the final (8) took off on Monday September 26, 1988. The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress. The event was won by Paul Ereng of Kenya, the first time a Kenyan runner had won the 800 metres; the nation had previously taken silver in 1968 and bronze in 1964 and 1972. Joaquim Cruz of Brazil failed to defend his 1984 gold, finishing second; the silver medal made him the ninth man to win two medals in the event. Saïd Aouita took bronze, Morocco's first medal in the men's 800 metres.
|Men's 800 metres|
at the Games of the XXIV Olympiad
|Dates||23 September 1988 (heats)|
24 September 1988 (quarterfinals)
25 September 1888 (semifinals)
26 September 1988 (final)
|Competitors||70 from 53 nations|
The final started out as a battle for the pole as José Luiz Barbosa and his teammate Joaquim Cruz led through the first turn, with Nixon Kiprotich in close pursuit. Barbosa was the first across the break line but Kiprotich ran hard down the backstretch to demand the lead. At the beginning of the second turn, Cruz tried to get around Barbosa. He was successful for a moment, the Barbosa accelerated and moved onto challenging position on Kiprotich's shoulder. Coming off the second turn, Barbosa put a finishing move on Kiprotich, but it was only the first lap, Barbosa getting the bell at a fast 49.54. Johnny Gray, known for this kind of destructive first lap was back in a more conservative fifth place, just behind Peter Elliott. Through the third turn, Saïd Aouita came forward from lagging at the back to move into challenging position behind Elliott. Paul Ereng followed Aouita from the back. His head bobbing, Kiprotich strained past Barbosa down the backstretch, but Cruz and Elliott were right with him, the defending champion Cruz continuing and edging ahead in the middle of the final turn. Kiprotich faded while Elliott and Aouita were challenging on Cruz's shoulder. Weaving his way around Barbosa and then Kiprotich, Ereng moved behind Elliott. Coming off the turn, Cruz accelerated, opening a 2-metre gap on his three pursuers, but his departure left a gap between Elliott and the curb, which Ereng gladly raced through. With more speed than the others, Ereng drifted to the outside, passing a helpless Cruz, who could only turn and look at who was passing him. Ereng ran away for gold while Cruz struggled. Further to the outside, Aouita took a run at Elliott, but ran into his elbow. Deterred for a moment, Aouita took a second run at Elliott, edging ahead for bronze, but too far back to catch Cruz for silver.
This was the 21st appearance of the event, which is one of 12 athletics events to have been held at every Summer Olympics. Three finalists from 1984, including the champion, returned: gold medalist Joaquim Cruz of Brazil, fifth-place finisher Donato Sabia of Italy, and seventh-place finisher Johnny Gray of the United States. Saïd Aouita of Morocco was the favorite.
Thirteen nations had never had a competitor in the men's 800 metres before: Andora, Angola, Bangladesh, Bermuda, the People's Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, the Cook Islands, Cyprus, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Qater, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Zaire all appeared in the event for the first time. Great Britain made its 20th appearance, most among all nations, having had no competitors in the event only in the 1904 Games in St. Louis.
The 1988 edition of the men's 800 metres was run over four rounds, a format that appeared only in 1960 before returning in 1984. The "fastest loser" system introduced in 1964 was used for the first round. There were nine first-round heats, each with 7 or 8 athletes; the top three runners in each heat as well as the next five fastest overall advanced to the semifinals. There were four quarterfinals, each of 8 athletes; the top four runners in each advanced to the semifinals. There were two semifinals with 8 athletes each; the top four runners in each semifinal advanced to the eight-man final.
Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Sebastian Coe (GBR)||1:41.73||Florence, Italy||10 June 1981|
|Olympic record||Joaquim Cruz (BRA)||1:43.00||Los Angeles, United States||6 August 1984|
No world or Olympic records were set during the competition.
|Friday, 23 September 1988||14:00||Round 1|
|Saturday, 24 September 1988||15:10||Quarterfinals|
|Sunday, 25 September 1988||14:50||Semifinals|
|Monday, 26 September 1988||13:40||Final|
The first round was held on Friday, 23 September 1988.
|8||Yussuf Moli Yesky||Chad||1:57.97|
|2||Steve Cram||Great Britain||1:47.77||Q|
|4||Mohamed Ismail Youssef||Qatar||1:48.20|
|5||Yu Tae-Gyeong||South Korea||1:48.61|
|6||Eversley Linley||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||1:51.71|
|—||Haji Bakr Al-Qahtani||Saudi Arabia||DSQ|
|1||Johnny Gray||United States||1:48.83||Q|
|7||Lin Kuang-Liang||Chinese Taipei||1:52.95|
|1||Vladimir Graudyn||Soviet Union||1:48.90||Q|
|4||Mark Everett||United States||1:49.86|
|6||Syed Meshaq Rizvi||Pakistan||1:51.58|
|7||Manlio Molinari||San Marino||1:52.35|
|8||John Siguria||Papua New Guinea||1:56.12|
|3||Cheikh Tidiane Boye||Senegal||1:49.89||Q|
|4||Tracy Baskin||United States||1:50.38|
|8||David Sawyerr||Sierra Leone||1:57.88|
|1||Peter Braun||West Germany||1:47.32||Q|
|6||Fahmi Abdul Wahab||North Yemen||1:55.24|
|7||Momodou Bello N'Jie||The Gambia||1:55.57|
|1||Peter Elliott||Great Britain||1:46.83||Q|
|2||Robin van Helden||Netherlands||1:46.99||Q|
|4||Tomás de Teresa||Spain||1:47.32||q|
|5||Ahmed Bel Kessam||Algeria||1:47.96||q|
|2||José Luíz Barbosa||Brazil||1:46.32||Q|
|6||Mohamed Hossain Milzer||Bangladesh||1:51.16|
|2||Tom McKean||Great Britain||1:47.24||Q|
|5||Dale Jones||Antigua and Barbuda||1:49.31|
|8||William Taramai||Cook Islands||1:58.80|
The quarterfinals were held on Saturday, 24 September 1988.
|5||Vladimir Graudyn||Soviet Union||1:47.07|
|1||Johnny Gray||United States||1:45.96||Q|
|3||José Luiz Barbosa||Brazil||1:46.20||Q|
|—||Tom McKean||Great Britain||DSQ|
|6||Steve Cram||Great Britain||1:46.47|
|7||Robin van Helden||Netherlands||1:46.61|
|8||Tomas de Teresa||Spain||1:48.01|
|2||Peter Elliott||Great Britain||1:46.61||Q|
|4||Peter Braun||West Germany||1:46.86||Q|
The semifinals were held on Sunday, 25 September 1988.
|4||Peter Elliott||Great Britain||1:44.94||Q|
|8||Peter Braun||West Germany||1:47.43|
|3||José Luiz Barbosa||Brazil||1:44.99||Q|
|4||Johnny Gray||United States||1:45.04||Q|
|4||Peter Elliott||Great Britain||1:44.12|
|5||Johnny Gray||United States||1:44.80|
|6||José Luiz Barbosa||Brazil||1:46.39|
- "Athletics at the 1988 Seoul Games: Men's 800 metres". sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
- "800 metres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
- Official Report, vol. 2, pp. 224–26.
- (in English) Official Report