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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle

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Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 24, 1988
Date Finished: September 25, 1988

Gold: URS Vladimir Salnikov
Silver: FRG Stefan Pfeiffer
Bronze: GDR Uwe Daßler


[Vladimir Salnikov] was unbeaten in this race between 1977 and early 1986. He had broken the 15-minute barrier at the 1980 Olympics, and was still the only swimmer under the barrier, having bettered it four times, with three world records. But by 1988 he was far from the swimmer he had once been. He had placed fourth in this event at the 1986 Worlds, won by West Germany’s [Rainer Henkel], and had not qualified for the final of the 1987 Europeans. The Soviet swim coaches did not choose him for the 1988 Olympic team, but the Soviet Minister of Sport intervened and Salnikov was placed on the team, and he pushed his training in an attempt to regain his old form.

In the final Salnikov swam behind American [Matt Cetlinski] for the first 600 metres, pulling slightly ahead at 700. West German [Stefan Pfeiffer] moved into second at 950 metres, as Salnikov continued to increase his lead, and Cetlinski dropped back to third. Just before 1,400 m the 400 gold medalist, [Uwe Daßler] of the GDR, caught Cetlinski. Salnikov continued to power ahead until the final 100, when Pfeiffer closed slightly. But it was not enough as Salnikov won his second gold medal in the event, with Pfeiffer second, and Daßler third. For Cetlinski, it was further disappointment as he placed fourth, as he had in the 400.

That night in the Olympic Village, Salnikov went to the cafeteria for a snack. When he entered all the athletes and coaches, from all nations and all sports, spontaneously stood and cheered the great Russian swimmer.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Vladimir Salnikov 28 Soviet Union URS Gold
2 Stefan Pfeiffer 22 West Germany FRG Silver
3 Uwe Daßler 21 East Germany GDR Bronze
4 Matt Cetlinski 23 United States USA
5 Mariusz Podkościelny 20 Poland POL
6 Rainer Henkel 24 West Germany FRG
7 Kevin Boyd 22 Great Britain GBR
8 Darjan Petrič 24 Yugoslavia YUG
9 Jörg Hoffmann 18 East Germany GDR QU
10 Luca Pellegrini 24 Italy ITA
11 Michael McKenzie 21 Australia AUS
12 Christophe Marchand 16 France FRA
13 Franck Iacono 22 France FRA
14 Jason Plummer 19 Australia AUS
15 Valter Kalaus 18 Hungary HUN
16 Christopher Chalmers 20 Canada CAN
17 Stefan Persson 21 Sweden SWE
18 Igor Majcen 19 Yugoslavia YUG
19 Harry Taylor 20 Canada CAN
20 Stefano Battistelli 18 Italy ITA
21 Artur Wojdat 20 Poland POL
22 Tony Day 23 Great Britain GBR
23 Lars Jorgensen 18 United States USA
24 Wang Dali 20 China CHN
25 Masashi Kato 18 Japan JPN
26 Cristiano Michelena 17 Brazil BRA
27 Yoshiyuki Mizumoto 19 Japan JPN
28 Norbert Ágh 18 Hungary HUN
29 Jeffrey Ong 16 Malaysia MAS
30 Artur Costa 18 Portugal POR
31 Ragnar Guðmundsson 20 Iceland ISL
32 David Castro 24 Brazil BRA
33 Wu Ming-Hsun 20 Chinese Taipei TPE
34 Yang Gam 15 South Korea KOR
35 Jonathan Sakovich 18 Guam GUM