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Athletics at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Men's 5,000 metres

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
Date Started: July 31, 1948
Date Finished: August 2, 1948

Gold: BEL Gaston Reiff
Silver: TCH Emil Zátopek
Bronze: NED Wim Slijkhuis

Summary

The world record and 14-minute barrier had been broken in 1942 by Sweden’s Gunder Hägg but he had been declared a professional and never competed in the Olympics. The 1946 European Champion was Britain’s Sydney Wooderson but he was injured and did not compete in London. A few days before the 5K final, Czechoslovakia’s Emil Zátopek had won the 10,000. He pushed the pace immediately in this race, with only Gaston Reiff (BEL), Erik Ahldén (SWE), and Wim Slijkhuis (NED), the 1946 European silver medalist, able to stay in contact. On the ninth lap, Reiff pulled away from the group and opened up a lead which grew to 30 metres by the bell lap. But with 300 metres to go, Zátopek took flight after Reiff and almost closed the margin by the tape, finishing only a metre in arrears. Reiff’s gold medal was the first ever for Belgium in track & field athletics.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Gaston Reiff 27 Belgium BEL Gold OR
2 Emil Zátopek 25 Czechoslovakia TCH Silver
3 Wim Slijkhuis 25 Netherlands NED Bronze
4 Erik Ahldén 24 Sweden SWE
5 Bertil Albertsson 26 Sweden SWE
6 Curt Stone 25 United States USA
7 Väinö Koskela 27 Finland FIN
8 Väinö Mäkelä 26 Finland FIN
9 Marcel Vandewattyne 24 Belgium BEL
10 Martin Stokken 25 Norway NOR
11 Helge Perälä 33 Finland FIN
AC Evert Nyberg 23 Sweden SWE
5 h1 r1/2 Jacques Vernier 25 France FRA
5 h2 r1/2 Maurice Pouzieux 27 France FRA
5 h3 r1/2 Jerry Thompson 24 United States USA
6 h1 r1/2 Harry Nelson 25 New Zealand NZL
6 h2 r1/2 Gregorio Rojo 28 Spain ESP
6 h3 r1/2 Alain Mimoun 27 France FRA
7 h1 r1/2 Jef Lataster 25 Netherlands NED
7 h2 r1/2 Bill Lucas 31 Great Britain GBR
7 h3 r1/2 Alec Olney 26 Great Britain GBR
8 h1 r1/2 Jack Braughton 27 Great Britain GBR
8 h2 r1/2 Luo Wenao China CHN
8 h3 r1/2 Martín Alarcon Mexico MEX
9 h1 r1/2 Cliff Salmond Canada CAN
9 h2 r1/2 Vasilios Mavrapostolos 32 Greece GRE
9 h3 r1/2 Ernst Günther Switzerland SUI
10 h1 r1/2 Manny Ramjohn 31 Trinidad and Tobago TTO
10 h2 r1/2 Sim Bok-Seok South Korea KOR
AC h1 r1/2 Aage Poulsen 29 Denmark DEN
AC h1 r1/2 John Joe Barry 22 Ireland IRL
AC h2 r1/2 Mustafa Özcan Turkey TUR
AC h2 r1/2 Clarence Robison 25 United States USA