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1968 Olympic Games Ciudad de México, Mexico - Men's 10000 m



Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico Format: Final only.
Date Started: October 13, 1968
Date Finished: October 13, 1968
(Competitors: 37; Countries: 23)
Venue(s): University Olympic Stadium, Ciudad de México
Overview by IAAF  1968_olympic_stadium.jpg
Ron Clarke improved his own world record by more than half a minute in 1965, and was 15 seconds quicker than anyone else in 1968, but in the oxygen-starved air of Mexico City he never had a chance. The altitude ensured a slow race, the first kilometre taking 2:58.5. Sviridov took over the pace in the fifth lap, and led until 4400m, when the Ethiopians Fikru Duguefu and Masresha took over, the latter leading at 5000m in 15:00.6, slower than Ritola in 1924. To the delight of the crowd, Martínez moved into the lead after 14 laps, and led to 7600m, when Clarke, and then Hill took over. Wolde moved ahead just before 8400m and then put in a lap of 67.2, the race’s first under 70 seconds. Of the lowlanders, only Gammoudi could stay in contact. Keino, who had been playing a waiting game, suddenly staggered off the track with stomach cramps, then jumped up and sprinted after the others, but then stopped. Temu overtook Wolde with 900m to go, and with Clarke and Gammoudi there were only four in contention, with only Temu a variation from the 1964 final four. Clarke gave way with 600m to go, and suffering from the altitude fell back to sixth by the finish. Ahead Wolde dashed into the lead just before the bell, and held the lead to the last 50m, when Temu fought his way past to win Kenya’s first ever gold medal, after a last lap of 57.4.
Summary by
On 14 July 1965, Ron Clarke won the 10,000 metres at the Bislett Games in Oslo in 27:39.4, bettering his own recognized world record by a Beamon-like 36.2 seconds. His best time in 1968 was 15 seconds faster than the second best time for the year. But the 1968 Olympics were held at the altitude of Ciudad de México, and Clarke had been born and trained at sea-level. The pace was slow, because of the altitude, with 5K passed in 15:00.6, slower than the 1924 final. Mexico's Juan Martínez took the lead on the 19th lap, delighting the home crowd. With two laps remaining the lead pack of four was Clarke, Kenya's Naftali Temu, 1966 Commonwealth Games champion, Ethiopia's Mamo Wolde, and Tunisia's Mohamad Gammoudi, silver medalist from 1964. Temu and Wolde pulled ahead on the penultimate lap, dropping Gammoudi and Clarke. Wolde shot into the lead at the bell but Temu fought back and caught Wolde on the final straight to win by four metres. Clarke struggled in the last two laps, a victim of the altitude, finishing sixth. He collapsed at the finish line, and was administering to by an Australian doctor who was seen crying at the condition of this great athlete.
Ron Clarke is likely the greatest distance runner never to have run a major international championship, winning a bronze medal in the 1964 Olympic 10K, and four silver medals at the Commonwealth Games. But his world records set new standards and confirmed his greatness. In 1968, he visited Czech distance legend Emil Zátopek at his home in Praha. When Zátopek took him to the airport, he pressed a gift into Clarke's hands, telling him )You deserve this). On the plane, Clarke opened it and it was the gold medal Zátopek had won for the 1952 10,000 metres. Wallechinsky wrote that Clarke had commented, )I do know no one cherishes any gift more than I do, my only Olympic gold medal and not because of what it is … but because of the man whose spirit it represents.)
10000 m Men Final 13 October
The great rivalry between East African neighbors Ethiopia and Kenya. While Abebe Bikila had won the Marathon in the two previous Olympics to show Ethiopia's ability, this was Kenya's first ever gold medal, with Naftali Temu outsprinting leader Mamo Wolde on the home straight. Distance running has never been the same, with the two countries battling for virtually every major title since.
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 29.27.40 Naftali Temu Kenya KEN 23 29.27.4 h
2 29.27.75 Mamo Wolde Ethiopia ETH 36 29.28.0 h
3 29.34.2 Mohamad Gammoudi Tunisia TUN 30
4 29.35.0 Juan Martínez Mexico MEX 21
5 29.43.2 Nikolay Sviridov Soviet Union URS 30
6 29.44.8 Ron Clarke Australia AUS 31
7 29.53.2 Ron Hill Great Britain GBR 30
8 29.57.0 Wohib Masresha Ethiopia ETH 22
9 30.01.2 Nedo Farčić Yugoslavia YUG 27
10 30.10.6 Álvaro Mejía Colombia COL 28
11 30.14.6 Tracy Smith United States USA 23
12 30.17.2 Rex Maddaford New Zealand NZL 21
13 30.18.0 Mike Tagg Great Britain GBR 21
14 30.19.4 Fikru Deguefu Ethiopia ETH 31
15 30.24.2 Jürgen Haase East Germany GDR 23
16 30.26.2 Tom Laris United States USA 28
18 30.46.0 Leonid Mykytenko Soviet Union URS 24
19 30.48.6 Manfred Letzerich West Germany FRG 26
20 30.52.0 Tsugumichi Suzuki Japan JPN 22
21 30.53.6 János Szerényi Hungary HUN 30
22 30.54.2 Mustafa Musa Uganda UGA 21
23 30.54.8 Lajos Mecser Hungary HUN 26
24 30.57.0 Lutz Philipp West Germany FRG 27
25 31.01.0 Vyacheslav Alanov Soviet Union URS 28
26 31.06.6 Dave Ellis Canada CAN 31
27 31.18.6 Jim Hogan Great Britain GBR 35
28 31.25.2 Keisuke Sawaki Japan JPN 24
29 31.40.2 Van Nelson United States USA 22
30 32.03.2 György Kiss Hungary HUN 32
31 32.14.6 Rafael Pérez Costa Rica CRC 22
32 32.35.2 Benjamin Silva-Netto Philippines PHI 29
AC DNF Kip Keino Kenya KEN 28
AC DNF Rodolfo Erazo Honduras HON 22
AC DNF Evan Maguire New Zealand NZL 26
AC DNF Alifu Massaquoi Sierra Leone SLE 31
AC DNF Willy Polleunis Belgium BEL 20
AC DNF Edward Stawiarz Poland POL 28




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