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Athletics at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games:

Men's 800 metres

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue(s): Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Stockholm
Date Started: July 6, 1912
Date Finished: July 8, 1912

Gold: USA Ted Meredith
Silver: USA Mel Sheppard
Bronze: USA Ira Davenport

Summary

The defending Olympic champion was America’s Mel Sheppard, who had won the AAU title over 880 yards in 1911 and won the eastern U.S. Olympic Trial in 1912. But two other Americans began to challenge him in the interim between Olympics. John Paul Jones, a college runner at Cornell, won the IC4A title in both 1911 and 1912. But a Philadelphia high school student, James Edwin "Ted" Meredith, of Mercersburg Academy, came to prominence at both 440 and 880 yards early in 1912, setting interscholastic records at both distances only a few weeks before the Olympic trials. At the eastern Olympic Trials, Meredith ran third behind Sheppard.

The best of the Europeans were Germany’s Hanns Braun, who had won the AAA title in 1911 and 1912, and Italy’s Emilio Lunghi, who equalled Sheppard’s world record of 1:52.8 (set at the London Olympics) in winning the 1909 Canadian Championship. At La Spezia, on 23 June, Lunghi confirmed his fitness with a 400/800 double of 49.0 and 1:55.0.

The five favorites all survived the first round, but John Paul Jones did not compete in the semi-finals. The American trainer, Michael Murphy, thought he had a better chance at 1,500 metres, so he withdrew Jones to save him for the longer race. In the second semi, Lunghi faltered in the stretch and finished fifth, one place from qualifying for the final.

In the final, Mel Sheppard led out at a very fast pace, reaching 400 metres in 52.4. But entering the homestretch, Sheppard could not hold off Ted Meredith, who won by inches in a world record time of 1:51.9. Ira Davenport (USA) came up fast in the last 200 metres to take the bronze medal. Meredith continued to a second tape set at 880 yards, passing that mark in 1:52.5, also a world record.

The official results for the non-medalists, from the Official Report, were 4) Braun 1:52.2; 5) David Caldwell 1:52.3; and 6) Melville Brock - no time. But concerning places 4-6, Olympic Track & Field states that, “However, these places and times do not stand up under close scrutiny of available photographs and reports from various sources. We here list ‘revised’ results.” The revised results that they listed were 4) Brock 1:52.7e; 5) Caldwell 1:52.8e; and 6) Braun 1:53.1e.

Quercetani and Kök describe this problem as follows: “Even the expert Swedish judges made mistakes in determining the other places, notably in giving a fourth place to Braun in 1:52.2, a time which the German federation recognized in ... 1924. In reality, the most dependable witnesses say that the exhausted Braun finished in slow motion, beaten by Caldwell and possibly even by Brock. Without guaranteeing absolute exactness (photographs, taken mostly before the finish and at different angles, don’t help much) the order of finish from fourth onwards can be tentatively reconstructed as follows (times are estimated): 4. Caldwell 1:52.8; 5. Brock 1:53; 6. Braun 1:53; 7. Hec Edmundsen; 8. Herbert Putnam.”

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Ted Meredith 20 United States USA Gold WR
2 Mel Sheppard 28 United States USA Silver
3 Ira Davenport 24 United States USA Bronze
4 David Caldwell 21 United States USA
5 Mel Brock 24 Canada CAN
6 Hanns Braun 25 Germany GER
7 Hec Edmundson 25 United States USA
8 Herbert Putnam 21 United States USA
5 h1 r2/3 Jack Tait 23 Canada CAN
5 h2 r2/3 Emilio Lunghi 25 Italy ITA
6 h1 r2/3 Percy Mann 23 Great Britain GBR
AC h1 r2/3 Fred Hulford 29 Great Britain GBR
AC h1 r2/3 James Soutter 27 Great Britain GBR
AC h2 r2/3 Ernest Henley 23 Great Britain GBR
AC h2 r2/3 Armando Cortesão 21 Portugal POR
AC h2 r2/3 Evert Björn 24 Sweden SWE
AC h2 r2/3 Harlan Holden 24 United States USA
3 h1 r1/3 Walter McClure 19 United States USA
3 h1 r1/3 John Paul Jones 21 United States USA
3 h2 r1/3 Ole Jacob Pedersen 23 Norway NOR
3 h3 r1/3 Oscar Larsen 24 Norway NOR
3 h4 r1/3 Charles Poulenard 27 France FRA
3 h5 r1/3 Ödön Bodor 30 Hungary HUN
3 h6 r1/3 Richard Yorke 26 Great Britain GBR
3 h7 r1/3 Erich Lehmann 21 Germany GER
3 h8 r1/3 John Victor 20 South Africa RSA
3T h9 r1/3 Erik Frisell 23 Sweden SWE
3T h9 r1/3 Thomas Halpin 19 United States USA
4 h1 r1/3 Eric Lindholm 21 Sweden SWE
4 h4 r1/3 Richard Jahn 23 Germany GER
4 h5 r1/3 Jacques Person 23 Germany GER
4 h6 r1/3 Karl Haglund 21 Sweden SWE
5 h1 r1/3 Joseph Caullé 27 France FRA
5 h5 r1/3 Dmitry Nazarov Russia RUS
AC h2 r1/3 Leopoldo Palma 21 Chile CHI
AC h3 r1/3 Guido Calvi 19 Italy ITA
AC h4 r1/3 Robert Burton 27 Great Britain GBR
AC h5 r1/3 Zdeněk Městecký 30 Bohemia BOH
AC h5 r1/3 Philip Baker 22 Great Britain GBR
AC h6 r1/3 Federico Mueller 23 Chile CHI
AC h6 r1/3 Ferenc Forgács 20 Hungary HUN
AC h6 r1/3 Aleksandr Yelizarov Russia RUS
AC h6 r1/3 Vahram Papazyan 19 Turkey TUR
AC h7 r1/3 János Antal 23 Hungary HUN
AC h8 r1/3 Alan Patterson 26 Great Britain GBR
AC h9 r1/3 Lauri Pihkala 24 Finland FIN
AC h9 r1/3 Károly Radóczy 26 Hungary HUN