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Swimming at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games:

Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle

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Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): Kokuritsu Yoyogi Kyogijo, Shibuya, Tokyo
Date Started: October 16, 1964
Date Finished: October 17, 1964

Gold: AUS Bob Windle
Silver: USA John Nelson
Bronze: AUS Allan Wood


Australia’s [Murray Rose] had won this event in 1956 and was second in 1960 and was still considered formidable. He was the 400 and 800 metre world record holder from 1962, and in August 1964, he bettered the 1,500 world record with 17:01.8 in Los Altos, California. But by 1964 he had settled in the United States, first as a student at the University of Southern California, and then as an actor in Los Angeles. He elected not to return for the Australian Trials in February, and Australian swimming officials responded by not allowing him on the Olympic team. He would have contended for gold, but might not have been favored, that role going to American [Roy Saari], who in September had broken Rose’s world mark and become the first swimmer to go under 17 minutes for the distance, recording 16:58.7. Australia’s best swimmer in Tokyo was [Robert Windle], but a few days before he had failed to make the final in the 400 metres and seemed at less than his best.

However, Windle qualified as the fastest in the heats, with Saari only fourth. And Windle took the lead at 100 metres and was never behind, although he was soon caught by his teammate [Allan Wood] and they led together through 1,000 metres, having 12 metres open water on America’s [John Nelson], with Saari struggling. By then Wood had given his best and Windle pulled away. He was ahead of Saari’s world pace at 1,300 metres but slowed on the final laps to win the gold medal in 17:01.7. Nelson came on strong and caught Wood at 1,350 metres, but ran out of water to catch Windle. Saari finished seventh in 17:29.2, nowhere near his best times.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Bob Windle 19 Australia AUS Gold OR
2 John Nelson 16 United States USA Silver
3 Allan Wood 21 Australia AUS Bronze
4 Bill Farley 19 United States USA
5 Russell Phegan 17 Australia AUS
6 Sueaki Sasaki 21 Japan JPN
7 Roy Saari 19 United States USA
8 József Katona 23 Hungary HUN
2 h4 r1/2 Veljko Rogošić 23 Yugoslavia YUG
2 h5 r1/2 Satoru Nakano 17 Japan JPN
3 h1 r1/2 Kazuyuki Iwamoto 17 Japan JPN
3 h2 r1/2 Sandy Gilchrist 18 Canada CAN
3 h3 r1/2 Guillermo Echevarría 16 Mexico MEX
3 h4 r1/2 John Thurley 16 Great Britain GBR
3 h5 r1/2 Julio Arango 14 Colombia COL
4 h1 r1/2 Holger Kirschke 16 Germany GER
4 h2 r1/2 Tin Maung Ni 26 Myanmar MYA
4 h3 r1/2 Miguel Torres 18 Spain ESP
4 h4 r1/2 Ricardo Morello 21 Argentina ARG
4 h5 r1/2 Alfredo Guzmán 21 Mexico MEX
5 h1 r1/2 Celestino Pérez 16 Puerto Rico PUR
5 h2 r1/2 Alan Durrett 16 Zambia ZAM
5 h3 r1/2 Heinz Junga 21 Germany GER
5 h4 r1/2 Pano Capéronis 17 Switzerland SUI
6 h1 r1/2 Tan Thuan Heng 16 Malaysia MAS
6 h2 r1/2 Slobodan Dijaković 17 Yugoslavia YUG
6 h3 r1/2 Petr Lohnický 23 Czechoslovakia TCH
6 h4 r1/2 Bob Loh 18 Hong Kong HKG
7 h1 r1/2 Esa Lepola 16 Finland FIN
7 h2 r1/2 Walter Ledgard, Jr. 19 Peru PER
7 h3 r1/2 Elliot Chenaux 17 Puerto Rico PUR