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Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games:

Men's 800 metres

Athletics at the 1960 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Roma, Italy
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Roma
Date Started: August 31, 1960
Date Finished: September 2, 1960

Gold: NZL Peter Snell
Silver: BEL Roger Moens
Bronze: WIF George Kerr

Summary

For the first time at the Olympics, the event was run in lanes for the first 100 metres. The favorite was Belgium’s Roger Moens, who had set the world record for 800 with 1:45.7 back in 1955. Injury kept him out of the Melbourne Olympics, but he had been undefeated in 1960 entered the Roma Olympics. Jamaica’s George Kerr, runner-up at the 1959 Pan-American Games, was expected to be his biggest challenger. New Zealander Peter Snell qualified for the final in Roma, but was an unknown quantity with a mediocre PR of 1:49.2y prior to the Olympics. But he won the second semi-final after Kerr won the first. The pace in the final was set by Swiss Christian Wägli, who had three metres on the field at 400, run in 51.9. Moens was second at the bell, with Snell well back, and boxed in. On the final straight, Moens took the lead with Kerr threatening him. He looked around on the straight several times and when seeing that Kerr was beaten, he relaxed. But then Snell burst by him on the inside and Moens had no answer, Snell winning gold, Moens silver, and Kerr bronze. Though he was an unknown, within a few years, Snell would be considered the greatest middle distance runner in the world, and one of the greatest ever.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Peter Snell 21 New Zealand NZL Gold OR
2 Roger Moens 30 Belgium BEL Silver
3 George Kerr 22 West Indies Federation WIF Bronze
4 Paul Schmidt 29 Germany GER
5 Christian Wägli 25 Switzerland SUI
6 Manfred Matuschewski 20 Germany GER
4 h1 r3/4 Jörg Balke 24 Germany GER
4 h2 r3/4 Jerry Siebert 21 United States USA
5 h1 r3/4 Tony Blue 24 Australia AUS
5 h2 r3/4 Abram Kryvosheiev 26 Soviet Union URS
6 h1 r3/4 Tom Murphy 24 United States USA
6 h2 r3/4 Ernie Cunliffe 22 United States USA
4 h1 r2/4 Donal Smith 26 New Zealand NZL
4 h2 r2/4 Zbigniew Makomaski 29 Poland POL
4 h3 r2/4 John Wenk 21 Great Britain GBR
4 h4 r2/4 Rudolf Klaban 22 Austria AUT
5 h1 r2/4 Terry Sullivan 24 Zimbabwe ZIM
5 h2 r2/4 Ralph Gomes 23 Guyana GUY
5 h3 r2/4 Valery Bulyshev 21 Soviet Union URS
5 h4 r2/4 Tom Farrell 27 Great Britain GBR
6 h2 r2/4 Lajos Kovács 24 Hungary HUN
6 h3 r2/4 Ronnie Delany 25 Ireland IRL
6 h4 r2/4 Ergas Leps 21 Canada CAN
7 h2 r2/4 Per Knuts 22 Sweden SWE
7 h4 r2/4 Ekrem Koçak 29 Turkey TUR
3 h2 r1/4 Jos Lambrechts 24 Belgium BEL
3 h7 r1/4 Péter Parsch 24 Hungary HUN
4 h1 r1/4 Brian Hewson 27 Great Britain GBR
4 h2 r1/4 Pierre-Yvon Lenoir 24 France FRA
4 h3 r1/4 István Rózsavölgyi 31 Hungary HUN
4 h4 r1/4 Vasily Savinkov 23 Soviet Union URS
4 h5 r1/4 Norbert Haupert 20 Luxembourg LUX
4 h6 r1/4 Stefan Lewandowski 30 Poland POL
4 h7 r1/4 Borut Ingolič 21 Yugoslavia YUG
4 h8 r1/4 Joe Mullins 22 Canada CAN
4 h9 r1/4 Sig Ohlemann 22 Canada CAN
5 h1 r1/4 Yair Pantilat 21 Israel ISR
5 h2 r1/4 Jan Šlégr 18 Czechoslovakia TCH
5 h4 r1/4 Konstantinos Moragiemos 23 Greece GRE
5 h5 r1/4 Frederick Owusu 23 Ghana GHA
5 h6 r1/4 Svavar Markússon 25 Iceland ISL
5 h7 r1/4 Pertti Ålander 23 Finland FIN
5 h8 r1/4 Gianfranco Baraldi 24 Italy ITA
6 h1 r1/4 George Johnson 22 Liberia LBR
6 h2 r1/4 Moussa Said 21 Ethiopia ETH
6 h4 r1/4 Ahmed Lazreg 25 Morocco MAR
6 h5 r1/4 Egon Oehri 20 Liechtenstein LIE
6 h6 r1/4 Abdeslem Dargouth 24 Tunisia TUN
6 h7 r1/4 Zbigniew Orywał 30 Poland POL
6 h8 r1/4 Julio Gómez 28 Spain ESP
7 h8 r1/4 Somsakdi Tongaram 26 Thailand THA