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1964 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan - Men's 1500 m

 

 

Host City: Tokyo, Japan Format: Top four in each heat and next fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: October 17, 1964 Format: Top four in each heat and next two fastest advanced to the semi-finals.
Date Finished: October 21, 1964
(Competitors: 43; Countries: 33; Finalists: 9)
Venue(s): National Stadium, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Overview by IAAF  1964_olympic_stadium.jpg
Tokyo emulated Helsinki in having two preliminary rounds, which then became the standard for the event. Britain’s Simpson was the fastest in the first round with 3:42.8, while another Briton – Whetton – became the first man to run under 3:40 without being an automatic qualifier. Placing fifth in the first semi, won by Snell in 3:38.8, Whetton had to wait for the second race before making the final as the fastest loser. Burleson won a tight finish in 3:41.5, which saw Wadoux just edge out new star Kipchoge Keino as both ran 3:41.9. Bernard again led an Olympic final, passing 400m in 58.0 before deciding to abandon the role of sacrificial rabbit. The pace began to dawdle and Davies took over the lead, with laps of 62.5 and 58.8, speeding up slightly from the 1000m point (2:30.3). The race was set up for the kickers – Burleson and Snell. The Kiwi attacked with 250m to go and the race was effectively over. His next 200m took just 25 seconds and his margin into the straight was 6m, which he almost doubled in the last 100m, despite consciously easing down. Behind him Odložil won the sprint for silver, edging Davies and Simpson, with Burleson clearly disconsolate at the superiority of Snell. Like Elliott before him, Snell had won the only major 1500m championship in which he took part.
Summary by Sports-reference.com
In 1964 the favorite for the 1,500 was the man who had won the 1960 Olympic 800 in a major upset, New Zealander Peter Snell. At Tokyo, Snell planned to defend his 800 gold medal in attempting the 800/1,500 double. In January 1962, on a grass track in Wanganui, New Zealand, Snell had broken Herb Elliott’s world mile record by 1/10th second, posting 3:54.4. At Tokyo Snell ran three rounds of the 800 on 14-16 October and comfortably defended his gold medal. He later said that he had held something back for the 1,500. The 1,500 also had three rounds – on the 17th, 19th, and the final on the 21st. Michel Bernard led the final on the first lap, as he had in Roma, but the pace of the final was not fast. The leader at 1,200 was Snell’s teammate, John Davies, who passed the start in 2:59.3. Suddenly Snell shot ahead with a startling burst of speed on the backstretch, and the race was over. He ran the next two 100 metre splits in 12.3 and 12.7, distancing the field. Slowing slightly coming home, he won by almost 15 metres in 3:38.1. He ran his last 300 in 38.6, and last 400 in 52.7. Czechoslovakia’s Josef Odložil finished second and Davies got the bronze medal. Later in November 1964, Snell again broke the world record with 3:54.1 in a race in Auckland.
 

1,500

Peter Snell’s strength from distance running was crucial to his task of winning this race as well as the 800. After three rounds in the 800, he faced three more over 1,500. But this was the least of his concerns. His team-mate John Davies was in fine form. “John was going extremely well and I was finding it a struggle to keep up with him,” Snell wrote later. “I couldn’t help thinking that, if form in training was what counted, John was going to clean up the 1,500.” (No Bugles, 174) Also, likely to be a threat were two Europeans: Josef Odlozil of Czechoslovakia and Witold Baran of Poland. Then there was the always tough Alan Simpson of Great Britain and Dyrol Burleson of the USA. 

Snell makes his break. Just past the crown of the top bend, Simpson
(159) is trying to move up, ahead of him are Davies and Baran and 
Odlozil (84) .

Two early victims in the heats were Valentin of Germany and Olavi Salonen of Finland. The semis, with the first four qualifying plus the fastest loser, were exciting. In the first one, all five qualifiers were under 3:40. Snell looked in control, although winning by only 0.1 seconds in 3:38.1. The second semi was incredibly close with the first six finishing within 0.4  of a second. Keino of Kenya and Allonsius of Belgium were the unlucky ones, although they finished in the same time as the third and fourth finishers.

In the final, the pace remained steady at 60-second speed for the first three laps. Michel Bernard led for 500. John Whetton led to 600 and then Davies, who wanted a faster pace, took over. Davies had to abandon his plan to make a run for the tape with 500 to go. But all he did was maintain the 60-second-per-lap pace until just past 1200. No one wanted to push the pace; in fact, they all played into the hands of the 800 champion. 

Snell waited till the end of the back straight to take the lead. Track and Field News gave some useful stats: the pace of the race was 14.5 per 100m until this point. Then Snell ran a 12.7 to gain the lead and followed this with a 12.3 round the curve. By this time the race for gold was over, and he cruised in with a 13.6 final 100m. “If anything, my run down the straight was a little bit easier than it had been in the 800 metres,” he said. (Bugles, p. 190) He had a 1.5 second lead at the tape. Head-on photos of him finishing underline his total dominance of the rest of the field. 

Snell's domination shows in this photo.
Odlozil (left) will come through for second
ahead of Davies.

The race for second was a thriller. When Snell made his move on the back straight, no one else could answer. In his wake, Davies led the chase group into the last bend, followed by Baran. Simpson, running really wide, moved into second coming into the straight. But this effort was just a little too much for him, and he began to fade. Baran looked likely to get second, but Odlozil was moving fast on the outside. Meanwhile, Davies moved up between Simpson and Baran. It was a desperate three-man race for second. Odlozil was the one find something extra and just passed Simpson and Davies for second. Simpson dived flat out to hold off Davies, but his valiant effort was in vain. Burleson was able to pass Baran for fifth. Less than a second separated second and sixth.

1. Peter Snell NZL 3:38.1; 2. Josef Odlozil CZE 3:39.6; 3. John Davies NZL 3:39.6; 4. Alan Simpson GBR 3:39.7; 5. Dyrol Burleson USA 3:40.0; 6. Witold Baran POL 3:40.3.

 
Results
1500 m Men Final 21 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.38.1 Peter Snell New Zealand NZL 25
2 3.39.6 Josef Odložil Czechoslovakia TCH 25
3 3.39.6 John Davies New Zealand NZL 26
4 3.39.7 Alan Simpson Great Britain GBR 24
5 3.40.0 Dyrol Burleson United States USA 24
6 3.40.3 Witold Baran Poland POL 25
7 3.41.2 Michel Bernard France FRA 32
8 3.42.4 John Whetton Great Britain GBR 23
9 3.45.4 Jean Wadoux France FRA 22
1500 m Men Semi-Finals Heat One 19 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.38.8 Q Peter Snell New Zealand NZL 25
2 3.38.9 Q Witold Baran Poland POL 25
3 3.39.3 Q Josef Odložil Czechoslovakia TCH 25
4 3.39.7 Q Michel Bernard France FRA 32
5 3.39.9 Q John Whetton Great Britain GBR 23
6 3.42.3 Wolf-Dieter Holtz Germany GER 22
7 3.44.8 Karl-Uno Olofsson Sweden SWE 23
8 3.51.2 Ergas Leps Canada CAN 25
9 3.55.0 Jim Ryun United States USA 17
1500 m Men Semi-Finals Heat Two 19 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.41.5 Q Dyrol Burleson United States USA 24
2 3.41.5 Q Alan Simpson Great Britain GBR 24
3 3.41.9 Q John Davies New Zealand NZL 26
4 3.41.9 Q Jean Wadoux France FRA 22
5 3.41.9 Kip Keino Kenya KEN 24
6 3.41.9 Eugène Allonsius Belgium BEL 26
7 3.43.4 Tom O'Hara United States USA 22
8 3.46.8 Jürgen May Germany GER 22
9 3.48.3 Simo Važić Yugoslavia YUG 30
1500 m Men Round One Heat One 17 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.45.3 Q Witold Baran Poland POL 25
2 3.45.5 Q John Davies New Zealand NZL 26
3 3.45.6 Q Dyrol Burleson United States USA 24
4 3.46.4 Q Ergas Leps Canada CAN 25
5 3.46.8 Bill McKim Great Britain GBR 23
6 3.47.2 Hansrüedi Knill Switzerland SUI 24
7 3.53.5 Denos Adjima Beche Cote d'Ivoire CIV
8 3.54.9 Basil Clifford Ireland IRL 26
9 3.57.0 Neville Myton Jamaica JAM 18
10 3.59.4 Ramasamy Subramaniam Malaysia MAS 24
1500 m Men Round One Heat Two 17 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.43.4 Q Michel Bernard France FRA 32
2 3.44.2 Q Jürgen May Germany GER 22
3 3.44.2 Q John Whetton Great Britain GBR 23
4 3.44.4 Q Jim Ryun United States USA 17
5 3.44.8 Q Karl-Uno Olofsson Sweden SWE 23
6 3.46.8 Olavi Salonen Finland FIN 30
7 3.47.9 Francesco Bianchi Italy ITA 24
8 3.54.8 Ibrahim Yazdan Panah Iran IRI 26
9 3.54.9 Albie Thomas Australia AUS 29
10 4.08.7 Tira Klai-Angtong Thailand THA 21
1500 m Men Round One Heat Three 17 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.45.8 Q Kip Keino Kenya KEN 24
2 3.46.6 Q Wolf-Dieter Holtz Germany GER 22
3 3.46.7 Q Tom O'Hara United States USA 22
4 3.46.8 Q Peter Snell New Zealand NZL 25
5 3.47.1 Stig Lindbäck Sweden SWE 27
6 3.49.0 Volker Tulzer Austria AUT 24
7 3.51.2 Rolf Jelinek Switzerland SUI 28
8 3.51.8 Michel Medinger, Jr. Luxembourg LUX 23
9 3.53.0 Jeong Gyo-Mo South Korea KOR 26
10 3.53.3 Hugo Walser Liechtenstein LIE 24
11 3.56.7 Anar Khan Pakistan PAK 25
1500 m Men Round One Heat Four 17 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.42.8 Q Alan Simpson Great Britain GBR 24
2 3.43.0 Q Jean Wadoux France FRA 22
3 3.43.2 Q Josef Odložil Czechoslovakia TCH 25
4 3.43.3 Q Eugène Allonsius Belgium BEL 26
5 3.43.7 Q Simo Važić Yugoslavia YUG 30
6 3.44.9 Siegfried Valentin Germany GER 28
7 3.45.8 Mamo Sebsibe Ethiopia ETH 20
8 3.46.7 Ivan Belytskiy Soviet Union URS 27
9 3.49.1 Attila Simon Hungary HUN 25
10 3.56.7 Toichi Yamaguchi Japan JPN 22
11 3.58.4 Eric Amevor Ghana GHA 26
12 4.02.6 Patrick Field Hong Kong HKG 27
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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