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Athletics at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games

1952 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Date Started: July 20, 1952
Date Finished: July 27, 1952
Events: 33

Participants: 963 (776 men and 187 women) from 57 countries
Youngest Participant: USA Barbara Jones (15 years, 124 days)
Oldest Participant: USA John Deni (49 years, 75 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 3 medals
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (31 medals)


The world had not recovered somewhat from the ravages of World War II, and the level of athletics competition was increasing yearly. The 1952 Olympics saw the début of athletes from the Soviet Union, who had competed at the 1946 and 1950 European Championships, but had passed on the 1948 Olympics, for rather Byzantine reasons. Germany also competed again, after they were not invited in 1948. Titularly Germany was to be represented by a combined team from East and West Germany, but the German team was entirely from West Germany, as the East Germans refused to compete alongside their Western counterparts. The 1952 Olympics were opened by two Finnish track legends. The torch was brought into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony by [Paavo Nurmi], the greatest athletic star in the Finnish pantheon. He then handed it to [Hannes Kolehmainen] , winner of the 5K and 10K in 1912 and the marathon in 1920, who lit the Olympic Flame. Having been opened by distance runners, it was fitting that the Helsinki Olympics were the private party of the great Czechoslovakian runner, [Emil Zátopek]. Zátopek won the 5,000/10,000 double in dominating fashion. He had never before run a marathon, but elected to enter that race as well, and won quite easily, completeing a unique Olympic distance triple. His family did quite well, as his wife, Dana Zátopková, won the women’s javelin gold medal. The German team won no events, but collected two silvers and three bronze medals. The Soviet men did won any gold medals, but [Galina Zybina] won the shot put and [Nina Romashkova-Ponomaryova] the discus throw.


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's 100 metres USA Lindy Remigino JAM Herb McKenley GBR McDonald Bailey
Men's 200 metres USA Andy Stanfield USA Thane Baker USA Jimmy Gathers
Men's 400 metres JAM George Rhoden JAM Herb McKenley USA Ollie Matson
Men's 800 metres USA Mal Whitfield JAM Arthur Wint GER Heinz Ulzheimer
Men's 1,500 metres LUX Josy Barthel USA Bob McMillen GER Werner Lueg
Men's 5,000 metres TCH Emil Zátopek FRA Alain Mimoun GER Herbert Schade
Men's 10,000 metres TCH Emil Zátopek FRA Alain Mimoun URS Aleksandr Anufriyev
Men's Marathon TCH Emil Zátopek ARG Reinaldo Gorno SWE Gustaf Jansson
Men's 110 metres Hurdles USA Harrison Dillard USA Jack Davis USA Art Barnard
Men's 400 metres Hurdles USA Charlie Moore URS Yury Lituyev NZL John Holland
Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase USA Horace Ashenfelter URS Vladimir Kazantsev GBR John Disley
Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States URS Soviet Union HUN Hungary
Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay JAM Jamaica USA United States GER Germany
Men's 10 kilometres Walk SWE John Mikaelsson SUI Fritz Schwab URS Bruno Junk
Men's 50 kilometres Walk ITA Pino Dordoni TCH Josef Doležal HUN Antal Róka
Men's High Jump USA Buddy Davis USA Ken Wiesner BRA José da Conceição
Men's Pole Vault USA Bob Richards USA Don Laz SWE Ragnar Lundberg
Men's Long Jump USA Jerome Biffle USA Meredith Gourdine HUN Ã–dön Földessy
Men's Triple Jump BRA Adhemar da Silva URS Leonid Shcherbakov VEN Asnoldo Devonish
Men's Shot Put USA Parry O'Brien USA Darrow Hooper USA Jim Fuchs
Men's Discus Throw USA Sim Iness ITA Adolfo Consolini USA Jim Dillion
Men's Hammer Throw HUN József Csermák GER Karl Storch HUN Imre Németh
Men's Javelin Throw USA Cy Young USA Bill Miller FIN Toivo Hyytiäinen
Men's Decathlon USA Bob Mathias USA Milt Campbell USA Floyd Simmons
Women's 100 metres AUS Marjorie Jackson RSA Daphne Robb-Hasenjäger AUS Shirley Strickland de la Hunty
Women's 200 metres AUS Marjorie Jackson NED Puck Brouwer URS Nadezhda Khnik'ina-Dvalishvili
Women's 80 metres Hurdles AUS Shirley Strickland de la Hunty URS Mariya Golubnichaya GER Maria Sander
Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States GER Germany GBR Great Britain
Women's High Jump RSA Esther Brand GBR Sheila Lerwill URS Aleksandra Chudina
Women's Long Jump NZL Yvette Williams URS Aleksandra Chudina GBR Shirley Cawley
Women's Shot Put URS Galina Zybina GER Marianne Werner URS Klavdiya Tochonova
Women's Discus Throw URS Nina Romashkova-Ponomaryova URS Yelizaveta Bagryantseva URS Nino Dumbadze
Women's Javelin Throw TCH Dana Ingrová-Zátopková URS Aleksandra Chudina URS Yelena Gorchakova