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Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games:

Men's 1,500 metres

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Host City: Roma, Italy
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Roma
Date Started: September 3, 1960
Date Finished: September 6, 1960

Gold: AUS Herb Elliott
Silver: FRA Michel Jazy
Bronze: HUN István Rózsavölgyi

Summary

Since World War II, no Olympic 1,500 had an overwhelming favorite entering the race. That changed in 1960 with the presence of Australian Herb Elliott. His great year had been 1958 when he broke the world record in both the 1,500 (3:36.0) and the mile (3:54.5). He was not quite as dominant in 1959 but he was still undefeated as an adult over both distances. But at the end of 1959 he moved to Portsea where he trained under the legendary coach Percy Cerutty, to prepare for the Roma Olympics. In the heats he qualified easily, with nine runners advancing. His main opposition was felt to come from France’s Michel Jazy and Hungary’s István Rózsavölgyi. The final was led out by French runner Michel Bernard, who passed 800 metres in 1:57.8 with Elliott on his shoulder. Elliott then jumped into the lead, running the next 100 in 13.2, and he stretched out the field. He reached the start line in 2:54.0 for 1,200 metres, and continued to push the pace, the field trailing far behind him. At the end of the backstretch, Percy Cerutty waved a white towel, telling Elliott he was on world record pace. He tied up only slightly in the home straight, finishing with a world record of 3:35.6. Jazy trailed in second, almost three seconds back, with Rózsavölgyi getting the bronze medal. Thru the rest of 1960, Elliott ran numerous races, but never ran another mile or 1,500 after the end of the year. In 1961 he ran a few half-miles and then retired, never having lost at 1,500 or the mile. Considered the greatest miler ever at the time, many felt his short career left him far from his enormous potential.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Herb Elliott 22 Australia AUS Gold WR
2 Michel Jazy 24 France FRA Silver
3 István Rózsavölgyi 31 Hungary HUN Bronze
4 Dan Waern 27 Sweden SWE
5 Zoltan Vamoş 24 Romania ROU
6 Dyrol Burleson 20 United States USA
7 Michel Bernard 28 France FRA
8 Jim Grelle 23 United States USA
9 Arne Hamarsland 27 Norway NOR
4 h1 r1/2 Terry Sullivan 24 Zimbabwe ZIM
4 h2 r1/2 Brian Kent-Smith 24 Great Britain GBR
4 h3 r1/2 Adolf Schwarte 25 Germany GER
5 h1 r1/2 Yevgeny Momotkov 24 Soviet Union URS
5 h2 r1/2 Albie Thomas 25 Australia AUS
5 h3 r1/2 Lajos Kovács 24 Hungary HUN
6 h1 r1/2 Olavi Salonen 26 Finland FIN
6 h2 r1/2 Siegfried Valentin 24 Germany GER
6 h3 r1/2 Mike Wiggs 22 Great Britain GBR
7 h1 r1/2 Rudolf Klaban 22 Austria AUT
7 h2 r1/2 Svavar Markússon 25 Iceland ISL
7 h3 r1/2 Merv Lincoln 26 Australia AUS
8 h1 r1/2 Arthur Hannemann 24 Germany GER
8 h2 r1/2 Alfredo Rizzo 27 Italy ITA
8 h3 r1/2 Evangelos Depastas 28 Greece GRE
9 h1 r1/2 Laurie Reed 24 Great Britain GBR
9 h2 r1/2 Andrei Barabaş 22 Romania ROU
9 h3 r1/2 Pete Close 22 United States USA
10 h1 r1/2 Joe Mullins 22 Canada CAN
10 h2 r1/2 Muharrem Dalkılıç 22 Turkey TUR
10 h3 r1/2 Olavi Vuorisalo 27 Finland FIN
11 h1 r1/2 Tomás Barris 30 Spain ESP
11 h2 r1/2 Dhira Phiphobmongkol 26 Thailand THA
11 h3 r1/2 Stefan Lewandowski 30 Poland POL
12 h1 r1/2 Mohamed Gouider 19 Tunisia TUN
12 h3 r1/2 Yair Pantilat 21 Israel ISR
13 h3 r1/2 Kassim Mukhtar Iraq IRQ
AC h1 r1/2 Zbigniew Orywał 30 Poland POL DNF
AC h2 r1/2 Péter Parsch 24 Hungary HUN DNF
AC h2 r1/2 Egon Oehri 20 Liechtenstein LIE DNF