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Athletics at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games:

Men's 10,000 metres

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Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): National Stadium, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Date Started: October 14, 1964
Date Finished: October 14, 1964
Format: Final only.

Gold: USA Billy Mills
Silver: TUN Mohamad Gammoudi
Bronze: AUS Ron Clarke

Summary

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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T(H)
1 Billy Mills 26 United States USA Gold 28:24.4 OR
2 Mohamad Gammoudi 26 Tunisia TUN Silver 28:24.8
3 Ron Clarke 27 Australia AUS Bronze 28:25.8
4 Mamo Wolde 32 Ethiopia ETH 28:31.8
5 Leonid Ivanov 27 Soviet Union URS 28:53.2
6 Kokichi Tsuburaya 24 Japan JPN 28:59.4
7 Murray Halberg 31 New Zealand NZL 29:10.8
8 Tony Cook 28 Australia AUS 29:15.8
9 Gerry Lindgren 18 United States USA 29:20.6
10 Franc Červan 27 Yugoslavia YUG 29:21.0
11 Siegfried Herrmann 31 Germany GER 29:27.0
12 Henri Clerckx 28 Belgium BEL 29:29.6
13 Jean Fayolle 26 France FRA 29:30.8
14 Teruo Funai 26 Japan JPN 29:33.2
15 Jean Vaillant 32 France FRA 29:33.6
16 József Sütő 27 Hungary HUN 29:43.0
17 Josef Tomáš 30 Czechoslovakia TCH 29:46.4
18 Ron Hill 26 Great Britain GBR 29:53.0
19 Pål Benum 29 Norway NOR 30:00.8
20 Siegfried Rothe 26 Germany GER 30:04.6
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
26 Bruce Kidd 21 Canada CAN 30:56.4
27 Arthur Hannemann 28 Germany GER 30:56.6
28 Kazumi Watanabe 28 Japan JPN 31:00.6
29 Ranatunge Karunananda 28 Sri Lanka SRI 34:21.2
AC Pascal Mfyomi 22 Tanzania TAN DNF
AC Naftali Temu 19 Kenya KEN DNF
AC János Pintér 27 Hungary HUN DNF
AC Jim Hogan 31 Ireland IRL DNF
AC Muharrem Dalkılıç 26 Turkey TUR DNF
AC Andrei Barabaş 26 Romania ROU DNF
AC Fernando Aguilar 26 Spain ESP DNF
AC Mohamed Hadheb Hannachi 26 Tunisia TUN DNF
AC Nikolay Dutov 25 Soviet Union URS DNF