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Athletics at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's 1,500 metres

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Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 29, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956

Gold: IRL Ronnie Delany
Silver: GER Klaus Richtzenhain
Bronze: AUS John Landy


In 1954, Britain’s [Roger Bannister] broke the 4-minute barrier for the mile, and won the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. But he was a medical student and elected not to continue competing thru the 1956 Olympics. By the time of the Melbourne Olympics, four other runners had broken four minutes for the mile – Hungary’s [László Tábori], two Britons, [Chris Chataway] and [Brian Hewson], and Australian [John Landy]. Landy hoped to win the 1,500 in front of his countrymen, and he had the best record of any of the contenders. Unlike 1952, there were only two rounds, which qualified 12 for the final, among them Landy, Tábori, Hewson, and Ireland’s [Ron Delany]. The final was led out by Landy’s teammate, [Merv Lincoln]. The field was closely bunched with Delany running at the rear. Hewson took the lead on the third lap and led thru 1,200 metres in 3:01.3. Delany was still near the rear but on the backstretch he moved up and passed Hewson at the head of the final straight, pulling away to win the gold medal in a major upset. Germany’s [Klaus Richtzenhain] was second, while John Landy, who had run an indifferent race, finished strongly for the bronze medal.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Ronnie Delany 21 Ireland IRL Gold OR
2 Klaus Richtzenhain 22 Germany GER Silver
3 John Landy 26 Australia AUS Bronze
4 László Tábori 25 Hungary HUN
5 Brian Hewson 23 Great Britain GBR
6 Stanislav Jungwirth 26 Czechoslovakia TCH
7 Neville Scott 21 New Zealand NZL
8 Ian Boyd 22 Great Britain GBR
9 Ken Wood 26 Great Britain GBR
10 Gunnar Nielsen 28 Denmark DEN
11 Murray Halberg 23 New Zealand NZL
12 Merv Lincoln 23 Australia AUS
5 h1 r1/2 István Rózsavölgyi 27 Hungary HUN
5 h2 r1/2 Ingvar Ericsson 29 Sweden SWE
5 h3 r1/2 Dan Waern 23 Sweden SWE
6 h1 r1/2 André Ballieux 23 Belgium BEL
6 h2 r1/2 Yevgeny Sokolov 25 Soviet Union URS
6 h3 r1/2 Gianfranco Baraldi 21 Italy ITA
7 h1 r1/2 Michel Jazy 20 France FRA
7 h2 r1/2 Evangelos Depastas 24 Greece GRE
7 h3 r1/2 Sergey Sukhanov 25 Soviet Union URS
8 h1 r1/2 Ted Wheeler 25 United States USA
8 h2 r1/2 Olavi Salsola 22 Finland FIN
8 h3 r1/2 Jerome Walters 26 United States USA
9 h1 r1/2 Jonas Pipynė 20 Soviet Union URS
9 h2 r1/2 Günter Dohrow 29 Germany GER
9 h3 r1/2 Georgios Papavasileiou 25 Greece GRE
10 h1 r1/2 Josy Barthel 29 Luxembourg LUX
10 h2 r1/2 Ramón Sandoval 25 Chile CHI
10 h3 r1/2 Eduardo Fontecilla 27 Chile CHI
11 h1 r1/2 Mamo Wolde 24 Ethiopia ETH
11 h2 r1/2 Don Bowden 20 United States USA
12 h2 r1/2 Émile Leva 24 Belgium BEL
13 h2 r1/2 Sim Sang-Ok 23 South Korea KOR
14 h2 r1/2 Mahmoud Jan Pakistan PAK
15 h2 r1/2 Somnuek Srisombat 24 Thailand THA
AC h3 r1/2 Siegfried Herrmann 24 Germany GER