Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): National Stadium, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Date Started: October 14, 1964
Date Finished: October 14, 1964
Format: Final only.
The favorite was Australian Ron Clarke, the world record holder known for his fast times, but who had difficulty winning major titles. He was expected to be challenged by the defending champion, Pyotr Bolotnikov, the 1962 European Champion, and twice a world-record setter, and the 1960 5K champion, Murray Halberg of New Zealand. Clarke set a fast pace, surging every other lap. At 5K, only five leaders remained, but it was not who was expected. Besides Clarke, the pack included Tunisia's Mohamad Gammoudi, Ethiopia's Mamo Wolde, Japan's Kokichi Tsuburaya, and a surprise American, Billy Mills. Tsuburaya was dropped in the sixth kilometer. At the bell, Clarke led, with Mills to his outside. But a lapped runner was between them, so Clarke moved out, pushing Mills into an outer lane, as Gammoudi moved past them both on the inside, quickly opening up a 10-metre lead. Clarke moved up to Gammoudi's shoulder at the top of the stretch and passed him, but Gammoudi fought back. Then suddenly, as if an apparition had come upon them, Billy Mills sprinted past both and won by three metres over Gammoudi, Clarke getting the bronze medal.
Mills was completely unknown prior to the race. Asked if he was concerned about Mills, Clarke replied, "Concerned about him, I never heard of him." One Japanese reporter asked Mills, "Who are you?" His victory is often considered the greatest upset in Olympic track & field history. Mills was part Sioux Indian, and worked for years after his victory as an inspirational leader for the betterment of Native Americans. He was also given warrior status by the Oglala Sioux, and an Indian name – Makoce Teh'la.
|1||Billy Mills||26||United States||USA||Gold||28:24.4||OR|
|5||Leonid Ivanov||27||Soviet Union||URS||28:53.2|
|7||Murray Halberg||31||New Zealand||NZL||29:10.8|
|9||Gerry Lindgren||18||United States||USA||29:20.6|
|18||Ron Hill||26||Great Britain||GBR||29:53.0|
|21||Mike Bullivant||30||Great Britain||GBR||30:12.0|
|22||Fergus Murray||22||Great Britain||GBR||30:22.4|
|23||Barry Magee||30||New Zealand||NZL||30:32.0|
|24||Ron Larrieu||27||United States||USA||30:42,6|
|25||Pyotr Bolotnikov||34||Soviet Union||URS||30:52.8|
|29||Ranatunge Karunananda||28||Sri Lanka||SRI||34:21.2|
|AC||Mohamed Hadheb Hannachi||26||Tunisia||TUN||DNF|
|AC||Nikolay Dutov||25||Soviet Union||URS||DNF|