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Athletics at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's 800 metres

Athletics at the 1956 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 23, 1956
Date Finished: November 26, 1956

Gold: USA Tom Courtney
Silver: GBR Derek Johnson
Bronze: NOR Audun Boysen


At an international meet is Oslo in August 1955, [Roger Moens] (BEL) won, defeating Norway’s [Audun Boysen], in a time of 1:45.7, with Boysen posting 1:45.9, both runners surpassing the world record of [Rudolf Harbig], set in 1939. The other great race that year came at the Pan-American Games when [Arnie Sowell] (USA) defeated his countryman, [Lon Spurrier]. Sowell was AAU Champion in 1955-56, but American [Tom Courtney] was probably a slight favorite in Melbourne, having won the US Olympic Trials. Moens could not compete, having injured his knee a few months before the Olympics. In the Olympic final, Courtney led at the start but Sowell soon took over. He led thru 600 metres, the first lap done in 52.8. At 600, four were in contention for medals – Courtney, Sowell, Boysen and Britain’s [Derek Johnson]. At the top of the stretch, Johnson and Courtney took a slight lead and battled together to the line, with Courtney winning in the lean.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Tom Courtney 23 United States USA Gold OR
2 Derek Johnson 23 Great Britain GBR Silver
3 Audun Boysen 27 Norway NOR Bronze
4 Arnie Sowell 21 United States USA
5 Michael Farrell 23 Great Britain GBR
6 Lon Spurrier 24 United States USA
7 Émile Leva 24 Belgium BEL
8 Bill Butchart 23 Australia AUS
5 h1 r2/3 Lajos Szentgáli 24 Hungary HUN
5 h2 r2/3 Mike Rawson 22 Great Britain GBR
6 h1 r2/3 Yoshitaka Muroya 26 Japan JPN
6 h2 r2/3 René Djian 29 France FRA
7 h2 r2/3 Jim Bailey 27 Australia AUS
8 h2 r2/3 Evangelos Depastas 24 Greece GRE
1 h4 r1/3 Gunnar Nielsen 28 Denmark DEN
4 h1 r1/3 Gérard Rasquin 29 Luxembourg LUX
4 h2 r1/3 Don MacMillan 28 Australia AUS
4 h3 r1/3 Sohan Singh 26 India IND
4 h4 r1/3 Gianfranco Baraldi 21 Italy ITA
4 h5 r1/3 Ramón Sandoval 25 Chile CHI
5 h1 r1/3 Dimitrios Konstantinidis 23 Greece GRE
5 h2 r1/3 Shigeharu Suzuki 22 Japan JPN
5 h3 r1/3 Eduardo Fontecilla 27 Chile CHI
5 h4 r1/3 Abdullah Khan Pakistan PAK
5 h5 r1/3 Klaus Richtzenhain 22 Germany GER
6 h1 r1/3 Frank Rivera 28 Puerto Rico PUR
6 h2 r1/3 Paul Schmidt 25 Germany GER
6 h3 r1/3 Günter Dohrow 29 Germany GER
6 h4 r1/3 Sim Sang-Ok 23 South Korea KOR
6 h5 r1/3 Mahmoud Jan Pakistan PAK
7 h1 r1/3 Mamo Wolde 24 Ethiopia ETH
7 h2 r1/3 Manikavagasam Harichandra 26 Malaya MAL
7 h3 r1/3 Kiptalam Keter Kenya KEN
7 h4 r1/3 George Johnson 18 Liberia LBR
8 h2 r1/3 Doug Clement 23 Canada CAN
8 h3 r1/3 Ajanew Bayene 20 Ethiopia ETH
9 h2 r1/3 Phol Jaiswang Thailand THA
9 h3 r1/3 Kenneth Perera 22 Malaya MAL