Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: December 1, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956
Format: 42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) out-and-back.
For the 1956 Olympic marathon, Emil Zátopek was back to defend his title. This time he was running only the marathon, but he was not as ready as in 1952, having recently had hernia surgery. The favorite’s mantle probably fell to the Algerian-born Frenchman, Alain Mimoun. Mimoun had won the International Cross-Country four times, and had won three Olympic silver medals on the track, always trailing Zátopek. He had also finished second behind Zátopek twice at the 1950 European Championships. Like Zátopek in 1952, he was making his marathon début.
Mimoun dominated the race. He was always in the lead group and by 25 km. he had opened almost a minute on the field. He ran steadily from there, winning the race by 1:32 over Yugoslavia’s Franco Mihalić. Zátopek, not near his top form, finished sixth. In his wonderful book, All That Glitters is Not Gold, William Oscar Johnson relates the story as told to him by Mimoun. When he finished he waited for Zátopek to arrive. When he did, he did not at first acknowledge Mimoun, being in some distress. Mimoun then told him, “Emil, it was I who won.” Zátopek then turned around and saluted Mimoun, his close friend. Telling the story years later, Mimoun noted, “Oh, for me that was better than the medal.” Mimoun ran two more career marathons, failing to finish the 1958 European Championships, and finishing 34th at the 1960 Olympics.
|4||Lee Chang-Hun||21||South Korea||KOR||2-28:45|
|7||Ivan Filin||30||Soviet Union||URS||2-30:37|
|12||Choi Chung-Sik||25||South Korea||KOR||2-36:53|
|14||Mercer Davies||31||South Africa||RSA||2-39:48|
|15||Harry Hicks||31||Great Britain||GBR||2-39:55|
|17||Albert Richards||32||New Zealand||NZL||2-41:34|
|20||Nick Costes||30||United States||USA||2-42:20|
|21||Johnny Kelley||25||United States||USA||2-43:40|
|22||Muhammad Havildar Aslam||35||Pakistan||PAK||2-44:33|
|31||Arap Sum Kanuti||Kenya||KEN||2-58:42|
|AC||Jan Barnard||27||South Africa||RSA||DNF|
|AC||Ron Clark||26||Great Britain||GBR||DNF|
|AC||Boris Grishayev||26||Soviet Union||URS||DNF|
|AC||Albert Ivanov||25||Soviet Union||URS||DNF|
|AC||Im Hwa-Dong||South Korea||KOR||DNF|
|AC||Fred Norris||35||Great Britain||GBR||DNF|
|AC||Dean Thackwray||23||United States||USA||DNF|