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Athletics at the 2004 Athina Summer Games:

Men's 1,500 metres

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Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Maroussi
Date Started: August 20, 2004
Date Finished: August 24, 2004

Gold: MAR Hicham El Guerrouj
Silver: KEN Bernard Lagat
Bronze: POR Rui Silva

Summary

The top 1,500 runner since the late 90s had been Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj, but he had fallen in the Olympic final in 1996 and been upset in 2000 by Kenya’s Noah Ngeny. El Guerrouj won the World Championship in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003, but he had only known Olympic disappointment. His leading opposition in 2004 was felt to be Kenya’s Bernard Lagat, who now lived and trained in the United States. Lagat had finished second at the 2001 World Championship, behind El Guerrouj, and had defeated him a few weeks before the Olympics in Zürich. In the final, the pace started out slowly and then slowed down even more on the second lap. El Guerrouj began to push the pace after 700 metres, and strung the field out. He was chased by Lagat, but he could never get past, as El Guerrouj ran his third lap in 54.8. Over the last lap, El G continued his sustained pace, holding on to win the gold medal, with Lagat getting the silver. Portugal’s Rui Silva closed quickly for the bronze medal. All three medalists ran the last 800 between 1:46.3 and 1:46.7. El Guerrouj finally had his Olympic gold medal. Four days later, he would contest the 5,000 metre final, and the runners refused to set a fast pace, setting it up for El G’s kick, and he won his second gold medal comfortably.

In March 2005, Bernard Lagat announced he had become an American citizen in May 2004 but competed for his native Kenya in Athens. Kenya does not allow dual citizenship so when this was revealed his silver medal was at stake, but he was allowed to retain it; however, he was banned from international competition for 2 years. He returned in 2007, competing for the United States at the World Championships in Osaka, and won the 1,500 metres and 5,000 metres.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Hicham El Guerrouj 29 Morocco MAR Gold
2 Bernard Lagat 29 Kenya KEN Silver
3 Rui Silva 27 Portugal POR Bronze
4 Timothy Kiptanui 24 Kenya KEN
5 Ivan Heshko 24 Ukraine UKR
6 Mike East 26 Great Britain GBR
7 Reyes Estévez 28 Spain ESP
8 Gert-Jan Liefers 25 Netherlands NED
9 Adil Kaouch 25 Morocco MAR
10 Mulugeta Wendimu 19 Ethiopia ETH
11 Kamal Boulahfane 28 Algeria ALG
12 Isaac Songok 20 Kenya KEN
6 h2 r2/3 Nick Willis 21 New Zealand NZL
7 h2 r2/3 Álvaro Fernández 23 Spain ESP
8 h1 r2/3 Manuel Damião 26 Portugal POR
8 h2 r2/3 Juan Carlos Higuero 26 Spain ESP
9 h1 r2/3 Hudson de Souza 27 Brazil BRA
9 h2 r2/3 Kevin Sullivan 30 Canada CAN
10 h1 r2/3 James Nolan 27 Ireland IRL
10 h2 r2/3 Youssef Baba 25 Morocco MAR
11 h1 r2/3 Rashid Ramzi 24 Bahrain BRN
11 h2 r2/3 Johan Cronje 22 South Africa RSA
12 h1 r2/3 Grant Robison 25 United States USA
12 h2 r2/3 Michal Šneberger 26 Czech Republic CZE
AC h1 r2/3 Tarek Boukensa 22 Algeria ALG
9 h1 r1/3 Wolfram Müller 23 Germany GER
9 h2 r1/3 Alan Webb 21 United States USA
9 h3 r1/3 Charlie Gruber 26 United States USA
10 h1 r1/3 Mounir Yemmouni 20 France FRA
10 h2 r1/3 Aleksandr Krivchinkov 21 Russia RUS
10 h3 r1/3 Branko Zorko 37 Croatia CRO
11 h2 r1/3 Abdul Rahman Suleiman 20 Qatar QAT
11 h3 r1/3 Dou Zhaobo 20 China CHN
12 h1 r1/3 Roberto Caraciolo Mandje 22 Equatorial Guinea GEQ
12 h2 r1/3 Mohamed Khaldi 29 Algeria ALG
12 h3 r1/3 Neil Weare 24 Guam GUM
13 h2 r1/3 Mehdi Baala 25 France FRA
13 h3 r1/3 Jimmy Anak Ahar 22 Brunei BRU