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1948 Olympic Games London, Great Britain - Men's 10000 m



Host City: London, Great Britain Format: Final only.
Date Started: July 30, 1948
Date Finished: July 30, 1948
(Competitors: 27; Countries: 15)
Venue(s): Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
Overview by IAAF 1948_olympic_stadium.jpg 
The favourites were the world record holder Viljo Heino (FIN), and Zátopek, who had run 29:37.0 six weeks before the Games in his second race at the distance. Heino was the early leader, passing 1000m in 2:55.6, with teammates Heinström and Könönen, Algerian-born Alain Mimoun-O-Kacha, and Albertsson in close attendance. Zátopek moved up in the fourth kilometre and took the lead for three laps, passing 4000m in 11:52. Heino regained the lead just before halfway (14:57), but Zátopek went back to the front in the 14th lap. After two more circuits the Czech pushed the pace, and Heino was broken, stepping off the track exhausted. With three laps to go Zátopek led by 200m. With a final lap of 66.6, in which his popularity soared as he patted ben Saïd on the shoulder in thanks as the Frenchman moved aside on being lapped, he won by more than 250m from Mimoun. The second-string Finn, Heinström, had been leading the chase until three laps to go when the heat got to him, and he staggered off the track just over a lap behind the winner as Zátopek finished. Fourth placer Stokken competed in the next two Olympics – in Nordic skiing, winning a silver medal in the 4x10Km relay in 1952. Zátopek’s winning margin of 47.8 seconds was the greatest in Olympic history.
Summary by
The favorite was Finland’s Viljo Heino, winner of the 1946 European Championship and the world record holder. But he was expected to be challenged by Czechoslovakia’s Emil Zátopek. Heino took the early pace, with Zátopek taking over at 3K. Heino briefly regained the lead, only to see Zátopek push ahead and break Heino’s spirit, as he dropped out on shortly after 6K. Zátopek eventually won by almost 48 seconds, lapping all but the silver (Alain Mimoun of France) and bronze (Bertil Albertsson of Sweden) medalists. Fourth-place finisher Martin Stokken (NOR) competed in the 1952 and 1956 Winter Olympics in cross-country skiing.


Close to 70,000 spectators endured the sweltering heat at London’s White City to watch the 10,000 final—even though there was no home favorite for this event.  Viljo Heino, the Finnish favorite and world-record holder (29:35.4), was expected to take gold.  However, there was a promising 5,000 runner from Czechoslovakia, Emil Zatopek, who had placed 5th in the European 5,000 in 1946 and had come within 3 seconds of Heino’s WR three weeks earlier. 

Heino took the lead from the start, although he was not in top form after an injury. He led at a fast pace through the first K in 2:55.6 (29:16 pace). Heino maintained the pace to 2K (5:52) but then slowed a little to 8:31.0 at 3,000. As storm clouds built up in the stifling heat, the Czech runner in a faded orange vest, who had stayed well back in the early laps, moved through the field from 17th and into the lead on the 10th lap.  Emil Zatopek was about to put his stamp on distance-running history. His style of running was very unorthodox, with his rolling head and swaying shoulders. His continual grimacing suggested he was always about to crack.  But he didn’t. 

Zatopek wins by over half a lap.

Heino, whose elegant running style contrasted the Czech’s, was back in the lead at the halfway point (14:57). The fast early pace was beginning to tell. When Zatopek went back into the lead, Heino held on to him for six laps. The pace was slowing to 3:05 and 3:03, but Heino was in trouble and he dropped out just before the 7K mark with stomach trouble. For the last eight laps Zatopek was on his own. No doubt initiated by his fellow countrymen, a chant of Za-to-pek, Za-to-pek was soon swirling around the stadium. The new Czech hero ran he last 3K in 8:55 to post a 47-second lead at the end. His time of 29:59.6 was 12 seconds inside the Olympic record. 

Behind Zatopek, Alain Mimoun-o-Kacha was the only one in the top six to run a PB. The Algerian-born Frenchman had a comfortable 6-second margin over Sweden’s Albertsson in becoming the first North African (of many to come!) to win a distance track medal. It would be easy to think that Mimoun had an advantage with the heat, but he went on to show that this fine run was no lucky break. He became one of the great distance runners of the 1950s. 

1. Emil Zatopek CZE 29:59.6; 2. Alain Mimoun FRA 30:47.4; 3. Bertil Albertsson SWE 30:53.6; 4. Martin Stokken NOR 30:58.6; 5. Severt Dennolf  SWE 31:05.0; 6. Abadallah Ben Said FRA 31:07.8.

10000 m Men Final 30 July
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 29.59.8 Emil Zátopek Czechoslovakia TCH 25 OR 29.59.6 h
2 30.47.4 Alain Mimoun France FRA 27
3 30.53.6 Bertil Albertsson Sweden SWE 26
4 30.58.6 Martin Stokken Norway NOR 25
5 31.05.0 Severt Dennolf Sweden SWE 28
6 31.07.8 Abdullah Ben Saïd France FRA 23
7 31.08.0 Stan Cox Great Britain GBR 30
8 31.16.0 Jim Peters Great Britain GBR 29
9 No Time Salomon Könönen Finland FIN 32
10 No Time Eddie O'Toole United States USA 27
11 No Time Fred Wilt United States USA 27
AC NP Ricardo Bralo Argentina ARG 31
AC NP Eusebio Guiñez Argentina ARG 41
AC NP Jakob Kjersem Norway NOR 22
AC NP Jef Lataster Netherlands NED 25
AC NP Luo Wenao China CHN
AC NP Steve McCooke Great Britain GBR 29
AC NP Constantino Miranda Spain ESP 23
AC NP Harry Nelson New Zealand NZL 25
AC NP André Paris France FRA 22
AC NP Manny Ramjohn Trinidad and Tobago TTO 31
AC NP Gregorio Rojo Spain ESP 28
AC DNF Paddy Fahey Ireland IRL 24
AC DNF Viljo Heino Finland FIN 34
AC DNF Evert Heinström Finland FIN 35
AC DNF Robert Everaert Belgium BEL 24
AC DNF Herman Goffberg United States USA 27




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