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1906 Olympic Games Athina, Greece - Men's 1500 m Walk



Host City: Athina, Greece Format: Final only.
Date Started: April 30, 1906
Date Finished: April 30, 1906
(Competitors: 9; Countries: 6)
Venue(s): Panathenaic Stadium, Athina
Overview by IAAF 1896_olympic_stadium.jpg 
This was the first walking event ever for Bonhag, and he took part because of disappointment at his efforts in the track events, where his best placing was fourth in the five miles. Linden had given Bonhag advice on how to walk competitively, and the American took it to heart. During the race Bonhag skipped (illegally), but with friendly judging from James Sullivan, the US official and chief walking judge, the American was not disqualified. First past the post were Robert Wilkinson (GBR) and Eugen Spiegler (AUT), but they were disqualified for running. Initially a re-run (re-walk) was ordered between Bonhag and Linden, but Bonhag never appeared, and the original result was allowed to stand.
Summary by
George Bonhag was extremely disappointed over his poor showings in the 1,500 metre and the 5-mile runs. He had never competed before in a walking event but decided to enter at the last minute, hoping to atone for his poor efforts. Just before the race, Don Linden, a Canadian who knew Bonhag, gave him some pointers concerning walking technique.
Linden later rued his magnanimity. He discussed it in the book, Canada at the Olympics, "Bonhag, an American runner, had been defeated in his 5-mile race, so he looked around for some other event that might restore his prestige. He had never competed in a walking race in his life; but he approached me and said he was thinking of entering the 1,500-metre walk, and asked for some advice. I knew it had taken me many years to become a champion, and I didn't consider a newcomer would be a dangerous rival. So half-jocularly and half-seriously, I told him what shoes to wear, how to stride, what the rules were; and I really encouraged him to enter.
"As I now recall, there were 9 competitors, and the eager Bonhag went out in front, right from the starter's gun. I trailed him a couple of yards where I could watch him closely and we were soon well ahead of the others. However, it didn't take me long to learn that Bonhag was so determined to stay ahead that he began skipping, which is a form of running. I also noticed that the judges, most of whom were as green as Bonhag, were pointing to the American's feet and shaking their heads. Bonhag continued walking so illegally that no honest walker could ever have caught him; and he finished ahead of me by a couple of yards.
"That race was walked on Monday, and later I was told that the judges had conferred and had agreed that Bonhag had broken the rules; so, they had ordered a re-walk to be held between Bonhag and myself at 9:30 Wednesday morning. At that hour, I was on the track and ready; and so was the Crown Prince of Greece, who was one of the judges. But Bonhag never appeared and neither did he give an explanation; no re-walk was held, and the original result went into the records."
1500 m Walk Men Final 30 April
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 7.12.6 George Bonhag United States USA 24
2 7.19.8 Don Linden Canada CAN 28
3 7.22.0 Konstantinos Spetsiotis Greece GRE
4 Georgios Saridakis Greece GRE
5 Kharilaos Vasilakos Greece GRE
6 Alexandros Kouris Greece GRE
7 György Sztantics Hungary HUN 27
AC DQ Robert Wilkinson Great Britain GBR
AC DQ Eugen Spiegler Austria AUT




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