You Are Here > SR/Olympics > Summer Games > 1960 Roma > Athletics > Men's Decathlon

Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games:

Men's Decathlon

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: September 5, 1960
Date Finished: September 6, 1960
Format: Scoring by 1950/1952 point tables.

Gold: USA Rafer Johnson
Silver: TPE Yang C. K.
Bronze: URS Vasily Kuznetsov

Summary

By 1960, Rafer Johnson, who had won silver in 1956, had established himself as the top decathlete in the world, having broken the world record in 1958 in the USA-USSR meet and at the 1960 AAU/Olympic Trials. His main competition was expected to come from his college roommate (at UCLA) and closest friend, Yang Chuan-Kwang of Taiwan, known to all as C. K. Yang. Yang had finished second to Johnson at the 1958 and 1960 AAU, and had won that event in 1959, in Johnson’s absence. Also competing was the 1954 bronze medalist, Vasily Kuznetsov, who had won the 1954 and 1958 European Championship, but was not considered at the same level as Johnson and Yang.

Yang won the first two events, the 100 and long jump, but Johnson moved ahead after the shot put. Johnson led at the end of the first day by 55 points. But Yang moved ahead in the 110 hurdles, only to see Johnson take back the lead for good in the seventh event, the discus throw. After nine events, Johnson led by 67 points, and Yang was a better 1,500 runner so the gold medal was still in doubt. Yang could win by defeating Johnson by about nine seconds in the 1,500. In the Roma darkness, Johnson ran the 1,500 by sticking right on Yang’s back and refusing to let him pull away, finishing only 1.2 seconds behind him and winning the gold medal. Kuznetsov repeated as bronze medalist, over 500 points behind Yang. Yang had bettered Johnson in seven of the ten events, but Johnson’s superiority in the throwing events – he won the shot, discus, and javelin – brought him the gold medal. This is often considered the greatest decathlon in Olympic history.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal P(1952HT) P(1985HT) P(1985AT)
1 Rafer Johnson 25 United States USA Gold 8,392 7.901 7.926 OR
2 Yang C. K. 27 Chinese Taipei TPE Silver 8,334 7.820 7.839 OR
3 Vasily Kuznetsov 28 Soviet Union URS Bronze 7,809 7.527 7.557
4 Yuriy Kutenko 28 Soviet Union URS 7,567 7.401 7.442
5 Eef Kamerbeek 26 Netherlands NED 7,236 7.213 7.237
6 Franco Sar 26 Italy ITA 7,195 7.140 7.174
7 Markus Kahma 27 Finland FIN 7,112 7.161 7.181
8 Klaus Grogorenz 23 Germany GER 7,032 7.078 7.114
9 Jože Brodnik 24 Yugoslavia YUG 6,918 7.005 7.042
10 Manfred Bock 19 Germany GER 6,894 7.006 7.037
11 Fritz Vogelsang 27 Switzerland SUI 6,767 6.881 6.912
12 Seppo Suutari 19 Finland FIN 6,751 6.876 6.914
13 Luciano Paccagnella 21 Italy ITA 6,279 6.566 6.583
14 Björgvin Hólm 25 Iceland ISL 6,261 6.601 6.639
15 Herman Timme 27 Netherlands NED 6,206 6.501 6.530
16 Walter Meier 33 Germany GER 6,000 6.116 6.149
17 Hans Muchitsch 27 Austria AUT 5,950 6.319 6.341
18 Léopold Marien 26 Belgium BEL 5,919 6.303 6.335
19 Juris Laipenieks 20 Chile CHI 5,865 6.314 6.349
20 Héctor Thomas 21 Venezuela VEN 5,753 6.188 6.227
21 Rodolfo Mijares 22 Mexico MEX 5,413 5.939 5.967
22 George Stulac 26 Canada CAN 5,198 5.786 5.814
23 Panagiotis Epitropopoulos 22 Greece GRE 4,737 5.365 5.409
AC Iuri Diachk'ovi 20 Soviet Union URS DNF
AC Phil Mulkey 25 United States USA DNF
AC Gurbachan Singh Randhawa 21 India IND DNF
AC Mirko Kolnik 24 Yugoslavia YUG DNF
AC Alois Büchel 19 Liechtenstein LIE DNF
AC Júlio Santos 24 Portugal POR DNF
AC Dave Edstrom 21 United States USA DNF