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1912 Olympic Games Stockholm, Sweden - Men's 1500 m

 

 

Host City: Stockholm, Sweden Format: Top two finishers in each heat advanced to the final.
Date Started: July 9, 1912
Date Finished: July 10, 1912
(Competitors: 46; Countries: 15; Finalists: 14)
Venue(s): Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Stockholm
Overview by IAAF 1912_olympic_stadium2.jpg 
Kiviat had set a world record of 3:55.8 to win the US Eastern Trials and was favoured to win, with fellow Americans Taber and Jones also well regarded. The first two in each heat qualified for the final, and Kiviat (4:04.4) and the young Swede Zander (4:05.5) were the fastest heat winners. Defending champion Sheppard (4:27.6) was the most economical of the victors. Arnaud led for the first two laps of the final (65, 2:08), with Erwin von Sigel (GER) and Jones close behind. Taber and Kiviat moved up, the former leading at 1000m in 2:39, and the latter ahead at 1200m in 3:09. Baker, in sixth place was dealing well with a foot bound in surgical tape because of a dislocated bone. Kiviat held the lead all the way to the finishing straight, where the tall Jackson began to close on Kiviat and Taber. Just behind these three were Jones and Wide. The Swede had been 15m behind Kiviat at the bell. With 10m to go Jackson settled the race with a surge which left Kiviat and Taber half a metre back. With five under four minutes for the first time and the winner always in doubt, this was the first great Olympic 1500m.
Summary by Sports-reference.com
As late as 1985, Cordner Nelson and Roberto Quercetani, two distinguished track & field historians, labeled this “the greatest race ever run,” noting, “The 1912 Olympic Games at Stockholm produced the greatest mile or 1500 meter race ever run from the standpoint of exciting competition between fast runners.” Much of what follows is based on their excellent summary.
There were five highly considered runners who started this event at Stockholm. One was the defending Olympic champion, Mel Sheppard. He was primarily a half-miler, and only the day before this event started, he lost narrowly in the 800 metre semi-final.
There were three other top Americans. John Paul Jones had won the 1911 and 1912 IC4A title at 880 yards and one mile. On 27 May 1911, Jones set a world amateur record in the mile with 4:15.4 in winning the IC4A at Cambridge. After the 1912 IC4A meet, he stopped training, not planning on competing at the Olympics, but he was convinced to resume training and travel to Stockholm.
Norm Taber of Brown University had done little prior to 1912. But on 1 June he finished in a dead-heat with Jones in the IC4A mile. And at the eastern Olympic Trial, one week later, he ran 1,500 metres in 3:56.4, bettering the world record, but he finished only second in the race.
Taber finished second in the eastern Olympic Trial because of a highly talented, diminutive runner named Abel Kiviat. Kiviat had first achieved prominence in 1909, winning the Canadian mile championship. In 1911 he won the AAU mile championship. On 26 May 1912, Kiviat ran in the New York Post Office Clerk’s Association Games at Celtic Park on Long Island, winning the mile narrowly over Mel Sheppard, but setting a new mile world record of 3:59.2 in doing so. In a handicap race at the same track on 2 June, he bettered that mark off scratch, recording 3:56.8. The record would be short-lived, as on 8 June, at the eastern Olympic Trial, he defeated Taber with another world record of 3:55.8. His hot running and three world records in only a few weeks made him the Olympic favorite.
Despite the four great American runners, Britain had a top talent in Arnold Jackson, but one who had little background as a miler. A well-rounded athlete who attended Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1912 he won the Oxford University Athletic Club mile and won the mile against Cambridge in a good time of 4:21.6. Based on those performances, he was named to the British Olympic team for Stockholm.
There were seven heats in round one, with the top two finishers in each heat advancing to the final. The five favorites qualified easily, although Jackson and Jones had been drawn in the same heat. The final consisted of 14 runners - seven Americans, three Swedes, two Brits, and a lone Frenchman and German. The four top Americans would be well protected by their group of seven teammates.
The “greatest race ever run” began at 3:30 PM (1530) on Wednesday, 10 July 1912. The pace was set by the Frenchman, Henri Arnaud, who passed 400 metres in 1:05 and 800 metres in 2:08. Taber led at 1,000 metres in 2:39, but at 1,200 metres, Kiviat took the lead in 3:09, closely followed by his teammates, Taber and Jones. Jackson had been running last most of the race, but passed Sheppard on the backstretch and began moving up the field. On the final curve, Kiviat continued to lead, followed by Taber, Jackson, Jones, and Sheppard. Taber pulled even with Kiviat at the start of the straightaway. With 50 metres remaining, Jackson pulled even with Kiviat and Taber, with Jones close behind and Sweden’s Ernst Wide closing fast as well. It was only 10 metres from the tape that Jackson edged ahead to win by 1/10th second from Kiviat (silver medal) and Taber (bronze medal). Kiviat and Taber were so close that the finish camera was needed to determine the final medal placements, the only time this was used to determine a placement at the 1912 Olympics. Jones finished fourth with Wide in fifth.
Jackson described the race in his own words, “Perhaps it is impossible in an Olympic mile to notice who got the lead, when and where, and Kiviat seemed to me to have the lead inside most of the way and Mr P. J. Baker and I had to get along the best way we could and not very near the front either. There we rubbed along until the bell went for the last lap. We then moved up and dropped Sheppard and several others who no doubt were rather tired after the general bustle and their previous efforts. With three hundred and fifty yards to go Paul Jones and Kiviat were well placed but coming round the last bend I got in behind them and running wide caught them with about a hundred yards to go. Running neck and neck for fifty yards I passed them and got home by about two yards, as far as I am told. A perfect day and capital fellow competitors helped the Olympic record to go and I am very grateful and proud to have run with Mr Kiviat, Taber, and Jones and all the others. I believe that the result of the second and third places was not given out until the photograph had been developed and Mr Kiviat just beat Mr Taber on the post with Mr Jones right on to them. 'U.S.A. right there all the time!’”
 
Results
Abel Kiviat finished his semifinal only 1 second off the Olympic record time of 4:03.4; he and all six other finalists whose times are known broke that mark in the final. Kiviat took second behind Arnold Jackson, who set the new record at 3:56.8.
1500 m Men Final 10 July
 
The start of the final.
1912 Athletics men's 1500 metre final2.JPG
The finish of the men's 1500 metre final at the 1912 Summer Olympics with the winner Arnold Jackson setting a new Olympic record.
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.56.8 Arnold Jackson Great Britain GBR 21 OR
2 3.56.9 Abel Kiviat United States USA 19
3 3.56.9 Norm Taber United States USA 20
4 3.57.2 John Paul Jones United States USA 21
5 3.57.6 Ernst Wide Sweden SWE 23
6 4.01.0 Philip Baker Great Britain GBR 22 4.01.0est
7 4.02.0 John Zander Sweden SWE 22 4.02.0est
8 Walter McClure United States USA 19
AC Mel Sheppard United States USA 28
AC Henri Arnaud France FRA 21
AC Frederick Hedlund United States USA 24
AC Erwin von Sigel Germany GER 27
AC Louis Madeira United States USA 20
AC Evert Björn Sweden SWE 24
1500 m Men Round One Heat One 9 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 4.27.6 Q Mel Sheppard United States USA 28
2 4.27.9 Q Louis Madeira United States USA 20
3 4.39.4 Albert Hare Great Britain GBR 24
1500 m Men Round One Heat Two 9 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 4.25.5 Q Norm Taber United States USA 20
2 4.26.0 Q Philip Baker Great Britain GBR 22
3 4.27.0 Georg Amberger Germany GER 21
AC Teofil Savniky Hungary HUN 17
AC Rūdolfs Vītols Russia RUS 20
AC DNF Dmitry Nazarov Russia RUS
1500 m Men Round One Heat Three 9 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 4.04.4 Q Abel Kiviat United States USA 19
2 4.05.4 Q Henri Arnaud France FRA 21
3 4.05.5 Norman Patterson United States USA 25
4 Jack Tait Canada CAN 23
5 Ferenc Forgács Hungary HUN 20
AC François Delloye Belgium BEL 23
AC Ole Jacob Pedersen Norway NOR 23
AC DNF Eddie Owen Great Britain GBR 25
1500 m Men Round One Heat Four 9 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 4.10.8 Q Arnold Jackson Great Britain GBR 21
2 4.12.4 Q John Paul Jones United States USA 21
3 4.12.7 John Victor South Africa RSA 20
4 Lewis Anderson United States USA 21
5 Oscar Larsen Norway NOR 24
6 Arnolds Indriksons Russia RUS 18
7 Alfrēds Ruks Russia RUS 21
1500 m Men Round One Heat Five 9 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 4.05.5 Q John Zander Sweden SWE 22
2 4.07.2 Q Evert Björn Sweden SWE 24
3 4.07.6 Herbert Putnam United States USA 21
4 Richard Yorke Great Britain GBR 26
5 Georg Mickler Germany GER 19
AC Aleksandr Yelizarov Russia RUS
AC Nikolay Kharkov Russia RUS
AC DNF Charles Ruffell Great Britain GBR 23
1500 m Men Round One Heat Six 9 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 4.09.3 Q Erwin von Sigel Germany GER 27
2 4.10.8 Q Frederick Hedlund United States USA 24
3 4.11.2 William Moore Great Britain GBR 22
4 4.11.2 Nils Frykberg Sweden SWE 24 4.11.2est
AC Andrejs Krūkliņš Russia RUS 21
AC Fred Hulford Great Britain GBR 29
AC DNF Guido Calvi Italy ITA 19
1500 m Men Round One Heat Seven 9 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 4.06.0 Q Ernst Wide Sweden SWE 23
2 4.07.3 Q Walter McClure United States USA 19
3 William Cottrill Great Britain GBR 23
4 Efraim Harju Finland FIN 22
5 Yevgeny Petrov Russia RUS 24
AC DNF Vahram Papazyan Turkey TUR 19

 

 

 

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