Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's 1500 metres
|Men's 1500 metres|
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
|Venue||Athens Olympic Stadium|
|Competitors||43 from 29 nations|
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. After clearly running the fastest last lap, Silva was unable to make any further headway, celebrating his bronze medal as he finished.
Prior to the competition[update], 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.
|Friday, 20 August 2004||19:40||Round 1|
|Sunday, 22 August 2004||21:50||Semifinals|
|Tuesday, 24 August 2004||23:40||Final|
Qualification rule: The first five finishers in each heat (Q) plus the next nine fastest overall runners (q) advanced to the semifinals.
|1||Hicham El Guerrouj||Morocco||3:37.86||Q|
|5||Isaac Kiprono Songok||Kenya||3:38.89||Q|
|7||Michal Šneberger||Czech Republic||3:39.68||q|
|11||Grant Robison||United States||3:53.66|
|12||Roberto Mandje||Equatorial Guinea||4:03.37||NR|
|Peter Roko Ashak||Sudan||DNS|
|3||Nick Willis||New Zealand||3:39.80||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|
|1||Michael East||Great Britain||3:37.37||Q|
|6||Juan Carlos Higuero||Spain||3:38.36||q|
|9||Charlie Gruber||United States||3:41.73|
|13||Jimmy Anak Ahar||Brunei||4:14.11|
Qualification rule: The top five finishers in each heat (Q) plus the next two fastest overall runners (q) advanced to the final.
|6||Michael East||Great Britain||3:36.46||q|
|7||Isaac Kiprono Songok||Kenya||3:37.10||q|
|9||Hudson de Souza||Brazil||3:38.83|
|1||Hicham El Guerrouj||Morocco||3:40.87||Q|
|6||Nick Willis||New Zealand||3:41.46|
|8||Juan Carlos Higuero||Spain||3:42.13|
|11||Johan Cronje||South Africa||3:44.41|
|12||Michal Šneberger||Czech Republic||3:47.03|
|Hicham El Guerrouj||Morocco||3:34.19|
|6||Michael East||Great Britain||3:36.33|
|12||Isaac Kiprono Songok||Kenya||3:41.72|
- "Athletics at the 2004 Athens Games: Men's 1500 metres". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
- Steve Cram (24 August 2004). "El Guerrouj's golden salvation". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- McMullen, Paul (24 August 2004). "3rd time proves golden charm for El Guerrouj". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's 1500m Heats". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's 1500m Semifinals". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
- "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's 1500m Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 12 October 2015.