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1960 Olympic Games Roma, Italy - Men's 10000 m



Host City: Roma, Italy Format: Final only.
Date Started: September 8, 1960
Date Finished: September 8, 1960
(Competitors: 33; Countries: 21)
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Roma
Overview by IAAF 1960_olympico_stadio.jpg 
More than half the field was able to stay in contact at the 5000m mark (14:22.2) with no-one attempting a serious break. With seven laps to go the Commonwealth champion Dave Power began to push the pace, running the eighth and ninth kilometres in 2:50.1 and 2:51.8 (after 2:56.4 & 2:53.1 for the preceding two kilometres). Only Bolotnikov, Desyatchikov and Grodotzki could stay with the Australian, but it was not enough to worry Bolotnikov who attacked with 700m to go, and built up an unassailable lead by the bell. Although Bolotnikov had won three USSR titles by the time of Rome, his only major championship outing over m had been a miserable 16th place in Melbourne nearly two minutes behind Kuts. Here, his last lap of 57.4 broke Kuts’s Olympic record by more than 13 seconds. The pre-race favourites had been Halberg, Krzyszkowiak, Bolotnikov and Pirie, but only Bolotnikov was fresh for the m.
Summary by
There was no heavy favorite in 1960 in this event, although the 1958 European Champion, Poland’s Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak was likely a slight favorite, but he was by now more a steeplechaser and would win gold in that event in Roma. The 1958 Commonwealth Games champion, Dave Power of Australia, set the early pace. Only Soviets Pyotr Bolotnikov and Aleksey Desyatchikov and the GDR’s Hans Grodotzki could stay with him. Bolotnikov took a big lead on the penultimate lap and was never caught, winning by almost five seconds. Though it was his first major title, he would win the 1962 Europeans and set a world record in the event in October 1960 and broke that in 1962.


There was some controversy about this race before it started. Many considered the size of the field (44) was too large for one race. But the IAAF refused requests for heats. Fortunately only 32 runners lined up in two rows for the start. 

There was a strong Russian presence in this race with  Pyotr Bolotnikov (30), Aleksey Desyatchikov and Yevgeniy Zhukov. All three had posted times under 29:00. Hans Grodotzki  of Germany, with a 28:57.8 PB, was also fancied. Australian Dave Power, who had won both the 6 Miles and the Marathon at the 1958 Commonwealth Games, was another good prospect. New Zealand’s Murray Halberg could not be discounted either; he had already won the 5,000 and had the best 10,000 PB. 

The Russian trio took charge of the race from the start. They clearly had a plan to work as a team, a plan that was to create controversy afterwards. Power and Rhadi were also in the front at times. Bolotnikov made sure the pace was fast by leading for the first 2K (2:48, 5:37). Only the Moroccan Rhadi stayed with him. Bolotnikov maintained the pace through 3,000 (8:29) but then slowed to pass 4,000 in 11:24. This slowing allowed the pack to join him. The first three Ks had been fast—28:18 speed; Bolotnikov clearly thought that his best chance of winning was off a fast pace. 

The 5,000 mark was reached in 14:22.2 (compare Kuts’s 14:07 in the 1956 Olympics). The splits were as follows: 2:48, 2:49, 2:52, 2:55, 2:58. There were still 20 in the lead group. It was now time for Bolotnikov’s team-mate Desyatchikov to lead and ensure the pace did not slow. The next two Ks in 2:56 and 2:53 reduced the field to 14: three Russians, three Brits (Merriman, Pirie and Hyman), Rhadi, Iharos Power, Grodotzki, Halberg, Krzyszkowiak, Anentia and Truex. Desyatchikov still led with Bolotnikov right on his heels. 

Australian Dave Power made a big move with seven laps to go. Only five went with him: Bolotnikov Desyatchikov, Grodotzki, Merriman and Hyman. Soon the lead group was four as the two Brits fell back. The eighth and ninth Ks were clocked at 2: 50 and 2:52, as Power and the two Russians took turns in the lead. 

Bolotnikov makes his move. Grodotzki, Power
and Desyatchikov follow.

Coming out of the last bend of the penultimate lap, Bolotnikov made his move and none of the other three was able to respond. Gordon Pirie, who was well back by this time (he finished 10th), wrote that “As they entered the final lap, Desyatchikov impeded Grodotzki for half a lap, preventing him from attempting to catch Bolotnikov. Then the third Russian, about to be lapped by Bolotnikov, paced his compatriot to the tape.” Running  Wild, p. 63) Nevertheless, Bolotnikov showed a supremacy close to Elliott’s over the 1,500 field as he covered the last K in 2:38.6 and the last lap in 57.4 for a clear 4.8-second victory in 28:32.2. Grodotzki earned his second silver with a fine PB, while Power managed to outsprint Desyatchikov for the bronze. Halberg, clearly tired after his great 5,000 run was well back in fifth, while Max Truex followed him in sixth, running 45seconds faster than his previous best.

The Russians ran well as a team—until their dubious tactics in the last lap. Still, I don’t believe those last-lap tactics changed the result. Bolotnikov was clearly the best runner. He ran a smart race and peaked at the right time. As well, he beat his PB by 26 seconds and was only 1.8 seconds outside Kuts’s WR.

  1. Pyotr Bolotnikov USSR 28:32.2; 2. Hans Grodotzki GER 28:37.0; 3. Dave Power AUS 28:38.2; 4. Akeksey Desyatchikov USSR 28:39.6; 5. Murray Halberg NZL 28:48.5; 6. Max Truex USA 28:50.2.
10000 m Men Final 31 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 28.32.18 Pyotr Bolotnikov Soviet Union URS 30 OR 28.32.2 h
2 28.37.22 Hans Grodotzki Germany GER 24 28.37.0 h
3 28.37.65 Dave Power Australia AUS 32 28.38.2 h
4 28.39.72 Aleksey Desyatchikov Soviet Union URS 27 28.39.6 h
5 28.49.11 Murray Halberg New Zealand NZL 27 28.48.5 h
6 28.50.34 Max Truex United States USA 24 28.50.2 h
7 28.52.75 Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak Poland POL 31 28.52.4 h
8 28.52.89 John Merriman Great Britain GBR 24 28.52.6 h
9 29.05.11 Martin Hyman Great Britain GBR 27 29.04.8 h
10 29.15.49 Gordon Pirie Great Britain GBR 29 29.15.2 h
11 29.16.07 Sándor Iharos Hungary HUN 30 29.15.8 h
12 29.20.14 Gerhard Hönicke Germany GER 30 29.20.4 h
13 29.22.53 Robert Bogey France FRA 24 29.22.4 h
14 29.32.00 Rhadi Ben Abdesselam Morocco MAR 31 29.34.4 h
15 29.34.71 József Kovács Hungary HUN 34 29.42.2 h
16 29.42.20 Yevgeny Zhukov Soviet Union URS 30 29.50.2 h
17 29.50.20 Xaver Höger Germany GER 30 29.58.0 h
18 29.58.00 Stanisław Ożóg Poland POL 30 30.01.0 h
19 30.01.00 Arere Anentia Kenya KEN 30.03.0 h
20 30.03.00 Constantin Grecescu Romania ROU 31 30.04.8 h
21 30.04.80 Simo Saloranta Finland FIN 25 30.12.4 h
22 30.12.40 Hamoud Ameur France FRA 28 30.25.4 h
23 30.25.40 Hamida Addèche France FRA 28 30.27.2 h
24 30.27.20 Doug Kyle Canada CAN 28 30.31.6 h
25 30.31.60 Carlos Pérez Spain ESP 25 30.35.8 h
26 30.35.80 Barry Magee New Zealand NZL 26 30.39.4 h
27 30.39.40 Franco Antonelli Italy ITA 26 30.47.4 h
28 30.47.80 Cyprian Tseriwa Rhodesia RHO 23 30.47.8 h
29 32.06.20 Fevzi Pakel Turkey TUR 32.06.2 h
AC DNF Kazimierz Zimny Poland POL 25
AC DNF Gabrou Merawi Ethiopia ETH 27
AC DNF Jaroslav Bohatý Czechoslovakia TCH 25
AC DNF Allan Lawrence Australia AUS 30




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