Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's 1500 metres

The men's 1500 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of the athletics program were held at the Athens Olympic Stadium from August 20 to 24.[1]

Men's 1500 metres
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
VenueAthens Olympic Stadium
Dates20–24 August
Competitors43 from 29 nations
Winning time3:34.19
1st, gold medalist(s) Hicham El Guerrouj  Morocco
2nd, silver medalist(s) Bernard Lagat  Kenya
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Rui Silva  Portugal
← 2000
2008 →

The first round comprised three heats with the first five gaining a direct qualification and then the next nine fastest across all heats progressing to the semifinals. The top five runners in each of the two semifinal heats moved on directly to the final, and they were immediately joined by the next two fastest from any of the semifinals.

World record holder Hicham El Guerrouj came into the race with a target on his back. Though El Guerrouj had won four straight World Championships, he had failed to win the previous Olympics, falling with a lap to go in his breakthrough year of 1996 and being beaten to the line in 2000 by the same Noah Ngeny who had chased El Guerrouj to the mile world record a year earlier. Ngeny was not back but bronze medalist Bernard Lagat was, seeking to finally beat El Guerrouj. Lagat had the potential assistance of two Kenyan teammates, but El Guerrouj also had his teammate Adil Kaouch make the final and Kaouch had previously sacrificed himself by acting as a pacesetter leading El Guerrouj to the 1999 and 2001 world titles. Because of the assistance, El Guerrouj's ability in a strategic race was suspect.

Off the line, the three Kenyan runners took the lead and formed a wall keeping the field behind as they slowed the pace; El Guerrouj could not run away from the start and the race would be strategic. With 500 metres to go, El Guerrouj worked his way to the front, with a line of kickers including Lagat, Reyes Estevez, Ivan Heshko and the unknown Mulugeta Wendimu lined up behind him. Down the backstretch, Lagat stayed a step behind El Guerrouj as other speedsters jockeyed for position and then fell back. From deep in the pack (dead last with less than 500 metres to go), Rui Silva was on the outside passing the others. Around the final turn, Lagat edged his way closer to El Guerrouj, pulling even just at the head of the stretch, with Silva gaining to just a step behind. By halfway down the home stretch, Lagat edged into the lead, but El Guerrouj did not go away, fighting back to take the win as Lagat gave up the fight a couple of steps before the line.[2][3] After clearly running the fastest last lap, Silva was unable to make any further headway, celebrating his bronze medal as he finished.

Four days later, El Guerrouj outsprinted 10000 metres gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele to take the 5000 metres gold medal and never competed internationally again, officially retiring in 2006.


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record   Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) 3:26.00 Rome, Italy 14 July 1998
Olympic record   Noah Ngeny (KEN) 3:32.07 Sydney, Australia 29 September 2000

No new records were set during the competition.


The qualification period for athletics was 1 January 2003 to 9 August 2004. For the men's 1500 metres, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 3:36.20 or faster during the qualification period. If an NOC had no athletes that qualified under that standard, one athlete that had run the race in 3:38.00 or faster could be entered.


All times are Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)

Date Time Round
Friday, 20 August 2004 19:40 Round 1
Sunday, 22 August 2004 21:50 Semifinals
Tuesday, 24 August 2004 23:40 Final


Round 1Edit

Qualification rule: The first five finishers in each heat (Q) plus the next nine fastest overall runners (q) advanced to the semifinals.[4]

Heat 1Edit

Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
1 Hicham El Guerrouj   Morocco 3:37.86 Q
2 Rui Silva   Portugal 3:37.98 Q
3 Álvaro Fernández   Spain 3:38.34 Q
4 Kamal Boulahfane   Algeria 3:38.59 Q
5 Isaac Kiprono Songok   Kenya 3:38.89 Q
6 Kevin Sullivan   Canada 3:39.30 q
7 Michal Šneberger   Czech Republic 3:39.68 q
8 James Nolan   Ireland 3:41.14 q
9 Wolfram Müller   Germany 3:46.75
10 Mounir Yemmouni   France 3:51.08
11 Grant Robison   United States 3:53.66
12 Roberto Mandje   Equatorial Guinea 4:03.37 NR
Peter Roko Ashak   Sudan DNS

Heat 2Edit

Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
1 Reyes Estévez   Spain 3:39.71 Q
2 Bernard Lagat   Kenya 3:39.80 Q
3 Nick Willis   New Zealand 3:39.80 Q
4 Adil Kaouch   Morocco 3:39.88 Q
5 Mulugeta Wendimu   Ethiopia 3:39.96 Q
6 Gert-Jan Liefers   Netherlands 3:40.10 q
7 Hudson de Souza   Brazil 3:40.78 q
8 Johan Cronje   South Africa 3:40.99 q
9 Alan Webb   United States 3:41.25
10 Aleksandr Krivchinkov   Russia 3:41.37
11 Abdulrahman Suleiman   Qatar 3:42.00
12 Mohamed Khaldi   Algeria 3:42.47
13 Mehdi Baala   France 3:46.06

Heat 3Edit

Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
1 Michael East   Great Britain 3:37.37 Q
2 Timothy Kiptanui   Kenya 3:37.71 Q
3 Ivan Heshko   Ukraine 3:37.78 Q
4 Rashid Ramzi   Bahrain 3:37.93 Q
5 Tarek Boukensa   Algeria 3:37.94 Q
6 Juan Carlos Higuero   Spain 3:38.36 q
7 Youssef Baba   Morocco 3:38.71 q
8 Manuel Damião   Portugal 3:39.94 q
9 Charlie Gruber   United States 3:41.73
10 Branko Zorko   Croatia 3:48.28
11 Dou Zhaobo   China 3:50.28
12 Neil Weare   Guam 4:05.86
13 Jimmy Anak Ahar   Brunei 4:14.11
Samwel Mwera   Tanzania DNS


Qualification rule: The top five finishers in each heat (Q) plus the next two fastest overall runners (q) advanced to the final.[5]

Semifinal 1Edit

Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
1 Adil Kaouch   Morocco 3:35.69 Q
2 Bernard Lagat   Kenya 3:35.84 Q
3 Gert-Jan Liefers   Netherlands 3:36.00 Q
4 Reyes Estévez   Spain 3:36.05 Q
5 Ivan Heshko   Ukraine 3:36.20 Q
6 Michael East   Great Britain 3:36.46 q
7 Isaac Kiprono Songok   Kenya 3:37.10 q
8 Manuel Damião   Portugal 3:37.16
9 Hudson de Souza   Brazil 3:38.83
10 James Nolan   Ireland 3:42.61
11 Rashid Ramzi   Bahrain 3:44.60
Tarek Boukensa   Algeria DNF

Semifinal 2Edit

Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
1 Hicham El Guerrouj   Morocco 3:40.87 Q
2 Rui Silva   Portugal 3:40.99 Q
3 Timothy Kiptanui   Kenya 3:41.04 Q
4 Mulugeta Wendimu   Ethiopia 3:41.14 Q
5 Kamal Boulahfane   Algeria 3:41.27 Q
6 Nick Willis   New Zealand 3:41.46
7 Álvaro Fernández   Spain 3:42.01
8 Juan Carlos Higuero   Spain 3:42.13
9 Kevin Sullivan   Canada 3:42.86
10 Youssef Baba   Morocco 3:42.96
11 Johan Cronje   South Africa 3:44.41
12 Michal Šneberger   Czech Republic 3:47.03



Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
  Hicham El Guerrouj   Morocco 3:34.19
  Bernard Lagat   Kenya 3:34.30
  Rui Silva   Portugal 3:34.68
4 Timothy Kiptanui   Kenya 3:35.61
5 Ivan Heshko   Ukraine 3:35.82
6 Michael East   Great Britain 3:36.33
7 Reyes Estévez   Spain 3:36.63
8 Gert-Jan Liefers   Netherlands 3:37.17
9 Adil Kaouch   Morocco 3:38.26
10 Mulugeta Wendimu   Ethiopia 3:38.33
11 Kamal Boulahfane   Algeria 3:39.02
12 Isaac Kiprono Songok   Kenya 3:41.72


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 2004 Athens Games: Men's 1500 metres". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  2. ^ Steve Cram (24 August 2004). "El Guerrouj's golden salvation". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  3. ^ McMullen, Paul (24 August 2004). "3rd time proves golden charm for El Guerrouj". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  4. ^ "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's 1500m Heats". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  5. ^ "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's 1500m Semifinals". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  6. ^ "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's 1500m Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 12 October 2015.

External linksEdit