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Athletics at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's 1,500 metres

Athletics at the 1952 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
Date Started: July 24, 1952
Date Finished: July 26, 1952

Gold: LUX Josy Barthel
Silver: USA Bob McMillen
Bronze: GER Werner Lueg

Summary

There was no favorite for the 1952 1,500, but the field had outstanding depth. At least 25 runners had run under 3:50 or 4:10 leading up to Helsinki. For the first time, the event had three rounds, with two semi-finals qualifying six runners in each heat for the final. The leading qualifiers for the final were Bob McMillen (USA), Patrick El Mabrouk (FRA), Werner Lueg (GER), Audun Boysen (NOR), Josy Barthel (LUX), and Roger Bannister (GBR). The first lap was led by Germany’s Rolf Lamers in the overly fast time of 57.8. He still led after two laps but in a more reasonable 2:01.4. Lueg led thru 1,000 metres in 2:32.8 with the field still closely bunched. He continued to lead into the last curve, with McMillen, Bannister, Barthel and El Mabrouk chasing him. Lueg finally tied up on the straight and Barthel and McMillen passed him while Bannister and El Mabrouk began to slow. In one of the greatest Olympic finishes ever, Barthel barely held off McMillen, while Lueg recovered slightly to get the bronze medal. Roger Bannister finished fourth. A bit less than two years later, on 6 May 1954, at the Iffley Road track at Oxford, Bannister ran the mile in the British AAA vs. Oxford meet. His time that day was a world record of 3:59.4, making him the first runner to better the magical 4-minute mile barrier. Barthel’s gold medal was the “first” ever for tiny Luxembourg, although in the 1990s, French athletics historian Alain Bouillé discovered that the 1900 marathon gold medalist, Michel Théato, was actually a Luxembourgeois national.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Josy Barthel 25 Luxembourg LUX Gold OR
2 Bob McMillen 24 United States USA Silver
3 Werner Lueg 20 Germany GER Bronze
4 Roger Bannister 23 Great Britain GBR
5 Patrick El Mabrouk 23 France FRA
6 Rolf Lamers 25 Germany GER
7 Olle Åberg 27 Sweden SWE
8 Ingvar Ericsson 24 Sweden SWE
9 Don MacMillan 24 Australia AUS
10 Denis Johansson 24 Finland FIN
11 Audun Boysen 23 Norway NOR
12 Warren Druetzler 23 United States USA
7 h1 r2/3 Václav Čevona 30 Czechoslovakia TCH
7 h2 r2/3 Stanislav Jungwirth 21 Czechoslovakia TCH
8 h1 r2/3 Sture Landqvist 27 Sweden SWE
8 h2 r2/3 Vilmos Tölgyesi 21 Hungary HUN
9 h1 r2/3 Bill Nankeville 27 Great Britain GBR
9 h2 r2/3 Frans Herman 25 Belgium BEL
10 h1 r2/3 Bill Parnell 24 Canada CAN
10 h2 r2/3 Günter Dohrow 24 Germany GER
11 h1 r2/3 Mihail Velsvebel 25 Soviet Union URS
11 h2 r2/3 Mykola Belokurov 25 Soviet Union URS
12 h1 r2/3 George Hoskins 23 New Zealand NZL
12 h2 r2/3 John Ross 20 Canada CAN
5 h1 r1/3 Sándor Iharos 22 Hungary HUN
5 h2 r1/3 Aulis Pystynen 24 Finland FIN
5 h3 r1/3 Fritz Prossinagg 21 Austria AUT
5 h4 r1/3 John Landy 22 Australia AUS
5 h5 r1/3 Urpo Vähäranta 26 Finland FIN
5 h6 r1/3 Jean Vernier 28 France FRA
6 h1 r1/3 Mieczysław Długoborski 21 Poland POL
6 h2 r1/3 Len Eyre 26 Great Britain GBR
6 h3 r1/3 Athol Jennings 21 South Africa RSA
6 h4 r1/3 Andrija Otenhajmer 25 Yugoslavia YUG
6 h5 r1/3 Javier Montez 22 United States USA
6 h6 r1/3 Edmund Potrzebowski 26 Poland POL
7 h1 r1/3 Filemón Camacho 25 Venezuela VEN
7 h2 r1/3 Fred Lüthi 22 Switzerland SUI
7 h3 r1/3 Daniel Janssens 26 Belgium BEL
7 h4 r1/3 Maurice Marshall 25 New Zealand NZL
7 h5 r1/3 Stefan Lewandowski 22 Poland POL
7 h6 r1/3 Sándor Garay 32 Hungary HUN
8 h1 r1/3 Pierre Gillet 22 France FRA
8 h2 r1/3 Turhan Göker 22 Turkey TUR
8 h3 r1/3 Cahit Önel 24 Turkey TUR
8 h4 r1/3 Nikolay Kuchurin 24 Soviet Union URS
8 h6 r1/3 Ekrem Koçak 21 Turkey TUR
9 h4 r1/3 Vasilios Mavroidis 25 Greece GRE
9 h6 r1/3 William Fahmy Hanna 24 Egypt EGY
10 h6 r1/3 Stit Leangtanom 23 Thailand THA
AC h1 r1/3 Hans Harting 26 Netherlands NED
AC h3 r1/3 Wim Slijkhuis 29 Netherlands NED