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| Event type

Sprint, Men

Date7 – 9 August 1948
StatusOlympic
LocationHerne Hill Velodrome, London
Participants23 from 23 countries
FormatTwo laps of the track, or 920 metres.
Olympic Record 2 / Toni Merkens GER / 7 August 1936
2 / Toni Merkens GER / 7 August 1936

The 1947 World Champion was Britain’s Reg Harris and he was considered a heavy favorite, especially in the British press. The Manchester Guardian wrote that he “may well be regarded as almost certain to carry off the Olympic title.” He was helped by the fact that the rider he defeated in the 1947 World final was Holland’s Cor Bijster, who had turned professional in late 1947. For the first time the match sprint was conducted as best two of three races in phases besides the final – from the quarter-finals onwards. All the quarter- and semi-finals were decided in two straight races. Harris defeated Australia’s Charles Bazzano in one semi, while Italy’s Mario Ghella swept Denmark’s Axel Schandorff in the other semi. In the second race of his semi, Ghella had shown his potential with an 11.9 finish, the fastest time of any race in London. The final was not close, but it was not what the British expected. In the first race, Ghella rode away to a five-length victory, when Harris made a tactical error leaving room for the Italian to pass on the inside. Harris eased up when he was beaten, saving himself for the next two races. But that would not happen. The second race saw the same result, the younger Italian easily winning by two lengths to take the gold medal. Schandorff won the bronze by defeating Bazzano in two straight races. A few weeks later, Ghella won the World Championship in the sprint, defeating Schandorff in the final, with Harris placing third, defeating his Olympic tandem partner, Alan Bannister. Harris turned professional and won the World Sprint title in 1949, the first time that was ever won by a néo-pro. He would defend that title in 1950 and 1951, and won again in 1954, and would place second in 1956. Amazingly, in 1974, he came out of retirement and won the British sprint championship.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1Mario GhellaITAGold
2Reg HarrisGBRSilver
3Axel SchandorffDENBronze
4Charlie BazzanoAUS
=5Jack HeidUSA
=5Mario MasanésCHI
=5Leonel RoccaURU
=5Emile Van De VeldeBEL
2 h1 r3/6Julio César LeónVEN
2 h2 r3/6Jan HijzelendoornNED
2 h3 r3/6Jacques BellengerFRA
2 h4 r3/6Erich WeltAUT
2 h5 r3/6Reinaldo PaseiroCUB
2 h6 r3/6Clodomiro CortoniARG
2 h7 r3/6Jean RothSUI
2 h8 r3/6Bob LacourseCAN
2 h1 r2/6Adolfo RomeroMEX
2 h2 r2/6Rusi Mulla FerozeIND
2 h3 r2/6Muhammad Naqi MallickPAK
2 h4 r2/6Compton GonsalvesTTO
2 h5 r2/6Manthos KaloudisGRE
3 h5 r2/6Laddie LewisGUY
2 h2 r1/6Howard WingCHN

Round One (7 August 1948 — 10:30)

Winner of each heat advanced to round two.

Heat One

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Leonel RoccaURU12.6Q
2Compton GonsalvesTTOat 1½ lengths

Heat Two

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Emile Van De VeldeBEL13.6Q
2Howard WingCHNat 1 wheel

Heat Three

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Jean RothSUI13.0Q
2Mario MasanésCHIat inches

Heat Four

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Reg HarrisGBR14.4Q
2Rusi Mulla FerozeINDat 1 length

Heat Five

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Jan HijzelendoornNED13.3Q
2Reinaldo PaseiroCUBat ½ length

Heat Six

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Clodomiro CortoniARG12.4Q
2Julio César LeónVENat 2 lengths

Heat Seven

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Axel SchandorffDEN12.5Q
2Charlie BazzanoAUSat 1 length

Heat Eight

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Jacques BellengerFRA12.5Q
2Laddie LewisGUYat 1 lengths

Heat Nine

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Erich WeltAUT17.2Q
2Adolfo RomeroMEXat ½ length

Heat Ten

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Jack HeidUSA13.0Q
2Muhammad Naqi MallickPAKat 2 lengths

Heat Eleven

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Mario GhellaITA12.9Q
2Bob LacourseCANwon easily

Round One Repêchage (7 August 1948 — 10:30)

Winner of each heat advanced to round two.

Heat One

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Bob LacourseCAN13.7Q
2Adolfo RomeroMEXat 2 lengths

Heat Two

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Reinaldo PaseiroCUB14.5Q
2Rusi Mulla FerozeINDat 2 lengths

Heat Three

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Charlie BazzanoAUS14.1Q
2Muhammad Naqi MallickPAKat 2 lengths

Heat Four

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Julio César LeónVEN12.6Q
2Compton GonsalvesTTOat 1 length

Heat Five

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Mario MasanésCHI13.3Q
2Manthos KaloudisGREat 2 lengths1
3Laddie LewisGUY

Round Two (9 August 1948 — 16:00)

Winner of each heat advanced to the quarter-finals.

Heat One

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Mario GhellaITA12.0Q
2Julio César LeónVENat 4 lengths

Heat Two

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
ACJan HijzelendoornNEDDNF2
ACLeonel RoccaURU13.1DQ

Heat Three

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Mario MasanésCHI12.8Q
2Jacques BellengerFRAat inches

Heat Four

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Axel SchandorffDEN12.5Q
2Erich WeltAUTwon easily

Heat Five

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Emile Van De VeldeBEL13.0Q
2Reinaldo PaseiroCUBat ½ wheel

Heat Six

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Jack HeidUSA12.0Q
2Clodomiro CortoniARGat one inch

Heat Seven

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Charlie BazzanoAUS14.3Q
2Jean RothSUIat 1½ lengths

Heat Eight

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Reg HarrisGBR15.1Q
2Bob LacourseCANat 1 length

Heat Two Re-run

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Leonel RoccaURU13.5Q
2Jan HijzelendoornNEDat 2 lengths

Quarter-Finals (9 August 1948 — 16:00)

Winner of each heat advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Mario GhellaITA2Q
2Emile Van De VeldeBEL0

Heat Two

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Axel SchandorffDEN2Q
2Jack HeidUSA0

Heat Three

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Reg HarrisGBR2Q
2Mario MasanésCHI0

Heat Four

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Charlie BazzanoAUS2Q
2Leonel RoccaURU0

Semi-Finals (9 August 1948 — 16:00)

Winner of each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Mario GhellaITA2Q
2Axel SchandorffDEN0

Heat Two

PosCompetitor(s)NOCTime
1Reg HarrisGBR2Q
2Charlie BazzanoAUS0

Final Round (9 August 1948 — 16:00)

Match 1/2 (16:00)

PosCompetitor(s)NOCRaces Won
1Mario GhellaITA2
2Reg HarrisGBR0

Match 3/4 (16:00)

PosCompetitor(s)NOCRaces Won
1Axel SchandorffDEN2
2Charlie BazzanoAUS0