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Athletics at the 1976 Montréal Summer Games:

Men's 800 metres

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Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 23, 1976
Date Finished: July 25, 1976

Gold: CUB Alberto Juantorena
Silver: BEL Ivo Van Damme
Bronze: USA Rick Wohlhuter

Summary

The best 800 metre runner in 1976 was Kenya’s Mike Boit, bronze medalist from 1972. But the African boycott prevented him from competing, and deprived track fans of what would have been a great battle between him and Cuba’s Alberto Juantorena. The other top 800 runner since 1972 was Rick Wohlhuter (USA) who had set two world records over 880 yards. Belgium’s Ivo Van Damme trailed only Wohlhuter on the 1976 year list prior to Montréal. The final included the three favorites and also the 1974 European Champion, Yugoslavia’s Luciano Sušanj. Sri Ram Singh (IND) set the pace in the final, going thru halfway in 50.85. Juantorena took the lead on the backstretch, with Wohlhuter on his shoulder. But Juantorena could not be had, his strength pulling him to a world record 1:43.50. Wohlhuter faded slightly in the stretch and was passed by Van Damme for the silver medal. After the Olympics Boit raced all the finalists in Europe, except Juantorena, and lost only one race. In December 1976 the track world was saddened to hear of the death of Ivo Van Damme in a car accident. In August 1977, Alberto Juantorena bettered his own world record with 1:43.4 in Sofia, Bulgaria. For the only time in Olympic history the 800 was run with a 3-turn stagger, so the athletes did not compete against each other closely until they had run 500 metres, making for some very dull races.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Alberto Juantorena 25 Cuba CUB Gold WR
2 Ivo Van Damme 22 Belgium BEL Silver
3 Rick Wohlhuter 27 United States USA Bronze
4 Willi Wülbeck 21 West Germany FRG
5 Steve Ovett 20 Great Britain GBR
6 Luciano Sušanj 27 Yugoslavia YUG
7 Sri Ram Singh 26 India IND
8 Carlo Grippo 21 Italy ITA
5 h1 r2/3 James Robinson 21 United States USA
5 h2 r2/3 Seymour Newman 23 Jamaica JAM
6 h1 r2/3 Marian Gęsicki 23 Poland POL
6 h2 r2/3 Leandro Civil 28 Cuba CUB
7 h1 r2/3 Thomas Wessinghage 24 West Germany FRG
7 h2 r2/3 Viktor Anokhin 25 Soviet Union URS
8 h2 r2/3 Frank Clement 24 Great Britain GBR
AC h1 r2/3 Horace Tuitt 22 Trinidad and Tobago TTO
3 h2 r1/3 John Walker 24 New Zealand NZL
3 h3 r1/3 Paul-Heinz Wellmann 24 West Germany FRG
3 h4 r1/3 János Zemen 25 Hungary HUN
3 h5 r1/3 Vladimir Ponomaryov 23 Soviet Union URS
3 h6 r1/3 Mark Enyeart 22 United States USA
4 h2 r1/3 Andrés Ballbé 23 Spain ESP
4 h3 r1/3 Jozef Plachý 27 Czechoslovakia TCH
4 h4 r1/3 Milovan Savić 23 Yugoslavia YUG
4 h5 r1/3 Åke Svenson 23 Sweden SWE
4 h6 r1/3 Rolf Gysin 24 Switzerland SUI
5 h2 r1/3 Fernando Mamede 23 Portugal POR
5 h3 r1/3 Günther Hasler 25 Liechtenstein LIE
5 h4 r1/3 Jorge Ortíz 21 Puerto Rico PUR
5 h5 r1/3 José Marajo 21 France FRA
5 h6 r1/3 Niall O'Shaughnessy 20 Ireland IRL
6 h2 r1/3 Francisco Solis 18 Dominican Republic DOM
6 h3 r1/3 Evert Hoving 23 Netherlands NED
6 h5 r1/3 Orlando Greene 23 Barbados BAR
6 h6 r1/3 Luis Medina 24 Cuba CUB
7 h1 r1/3 Muhammad Younis 27 Pakistan PAK
7 h2 r1/3 Wilnor Joseph 33 Haiti HAI
7 h3 r1/3 Roy Bottse 25 Suriname SUR
7 h5 r1/3 Attiya Al-Qahtani 23 Saudi Arabia KSA
7 h6 r1/3 Marcel Philippe 24 France FRA
8 h3 r1/3 Erasmo Gómez 25 Nicaragua NCA
AC h4 r1/3 Roqui Sanchez 23 France FRA