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| Event type

800 metres, Men

Date20 – 21 July 1908
StatusOlympic
LocationWhite City Stadium, London
Participants38 from 11 countries
Olympic Record 1:56.0 / Jim Lightbody USA / 1 September 1904

The heavy favorite was Mel Sheppard of the United States who had won the AAU Championship in 1906-08. He also won the American Eastern Olympic trial in 1:54.0, challenging the long-standing world record of 1:53.4 for 880 yards set by Charles Kilpatrick at New York on 21 September 1895.

The eight heats were all won in modest times but in the final Sheppard posted a new world record of 1:52.8. It is, however, probable that Kilpatrick had passed the 800 metres mark in a slightly faster time when he set his world record. In anticipation of a fast Olympic final, a tape was also placed at 880 yards which Sheppard reached in 1:54.0. After 400 metre splits of 53.0 and 59.8, it is evident that Sheppard was slowing considerably towards the end of the race but even so, a differential of 1.2 seconds to cover the additional 4.68 metres between 800 metres and 880 yards seems unrealistic. Having won the 1,500 metres seven days earlier, Sheppard completed a notable middle distance double.

Melvin Sheppard would eventually win four gold medals in middle distance running at the Olympics. In 1908 he won the 800, 1,500, and ran on the medley relay team, anchoring the 800 metre leg. In 1912, he also ran on the 4 x 400 metre relay. He eventually won five AAU titles over two laps - 1906-08, and 1911-12, and three Canadian titles - 1906, 1911-12.

PosNrAthleteNOCR1Final
1Mel SheppardUSA1:58.0 (1 h2)1:52.8 (1)GoldWR
2Emilio LunghiITA1:57.2 (1 h4)1:54.2est (2)Silver
3Hanns BraunGER1:58.0 (1 h7)1:55.2est (3)Bronze
4Ödön BodorHUN1:58.6 (1 h1)1:55.4est (4)
5Theodore JustGBR1:57.8 (1 h6)1:56.4est (5)
6John HalsteadUSA2:01.4 (1 h3)– (6)
ACIvo Fairbairn-CrawfordGBR1:57.8 (1 h8)– (AC)
ACClarke BeardUSA1:59.8 (1 h5)– (AC)
2 h1 r1/2George ButterfieldGBR1:58.9est / at 2 yards (2 h1)
2 h2 r1/2James LintottGBR1:58.8est / at 4 yards (2 h2)
2 h3 r1/2John LeeGBR2:01.7est / at 2 yards (2 h3)
2 h4 r1/2Harry CoeUSA1:58.0est / at 2 yards (2 h4)
2 h5 r1/2Arthur AstleyGBR1:59.9est / at 1 yard (2 h5)
2 h6 r1/2Andreas BreynckGER2:06.0est / at 50 yards (2 h6)
2 h7 r1/2Joseph BromilowUSA1:58.3est / at 1 yard (2 h7)
2 h8 r1/2Kristian HellströmSWE2:00.0est / at 15 yards (2 h8)
3 h1 r1/2Evert BjörnSWE– (3 h1)
3 h2 r1/2Irving ParkesCAN– (3 h2)
3 h3 r1/2George MorphyGBR– (3 h3)
3 h4 r1/2Lloyd JonesUSA– (3 h4)
3 h5 r1/2Don BuddoCAN– (3 h5)
3 h7 r1/2Harold HoldingGBR1:58.5est (3 h7)
3 h8 r1/2Harvey SuttonANZ– (3 h8)
4 h1 r1/2Jim LightbodyUSA– (4 h1)
4 h3 r1/2József NagyHUN– (4 h3)
4 h5 r1/2Oskar QuargGER2:10.0est (4 h5)
4 h8 r1/2Frank SheehanUSA– (4 h8)
AC h1 r1/2Murray AshfordGBR– (AC h1)
AC h1 r1/2Henk van der WalNED– (AC h1)
AC h4 r1/2Larry ManogueGBR– (AC h4)
AC h4 r1/2Stylianos DimitriouGRE– (AC h4)
AC h5 r1/2Edward DahlSWE– (AC h5)
AC h5 r1/2Charles FrenchUSA– (AC h5)
AC h6 r1/2Arie VosbergenNED– (AC h6)
AC h6 r1/2Gösta DanielsonSWE– (AC h6)
AC h7 r1/2Fredrik SvanströmFIN– (AC h7)
AC h7 r1/2Bram EversNED– (AC h7)
AC h7 r1/2Horace RameyUSA– (AC h7)
DNSErnest RaxFRA
DNSGyula VangelHUN
DNSGéza BrugerHUN
DNSJózsef BerneghHUN
DNSGuy HaskinsANZ
DNSAndré PouillotFRA
DNSJoseph LynchANZ
DNSHenry MurrayANZ
DNSArnošt NejedlýBOH
DNSJimmy FitzgeraldCAN
DNSRagnar StenbergFIN
DNSJean BouinFRA
DNSGeorges DuboisFRA
DNSPierre FailliotFRA
DNSHenri MeslotFRA
DNSJoe EnglishGBR
DNSJohn McGoughGBR
DNSErwin von SigelGER
DNSÖdön HolitsHUN
DNSCarl AnderssonSWE
DNSPaul PilgrimUSA

Round One (20 July 1908 — 15:30, 17:30)

Winner in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Ödön BodorHUN1:58.6Q
2George ButterfieldGBR1:58.9est / at 2 yards
3Evert BjörnSWE
4Jim LightbodyUSA
ACMurray AshfordGBRDNF
ACHenk van der WalNEDDNF

Heat Two

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Mel SheppardUSA1:58.0Q
2James LintottGBR1:58.8est / at 4 yards
3Irving ParkesCAN

Heat Three

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1John HalsteadUSA2:01.4Q
2John LeeGBR2:01.7est / at 2 yards
3George MorphyGBR
4József NagyHUN

Heat Four

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Emilio LunghiITA1:57.2Q
2Harry CoeUSA1:58.0est / at 2 yards
3Lloyd JonesUSA
ACStylianos DimitriouGREDNF
ACLarry ManogueGBRDNF

Heat Five

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Clarke BeardUSA1:59.8Q
2Arthur AstleyGBR1:59.9est / at 1 yard
3Don BuddoCAN
4Oskar QuargGER2:10.0est
ACCharles FrenchUSADNF
ACEdward DahlSWEDNF

Heat Six

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Theodore JustGBR1:57.8Q
2Andreas BreynckGER2:06.0est / at 50 yards
ACGösta DanielsonSWEDNF
ACArie VosbergenNEDDNF

Heat Seven

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Hanns BraunGER1:58.0Q
2Joseph BromilowUSA1:58.3est / at 1 yard
3Harold HoldingGBR1:58.5est
ACHorace RameyUSADNF
ACFredrik SvanströmFINDNF
ACBram EversNEDDNF

Heat Eight

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Ivo Fairbairn-CrawfordGBR1:57.8Q
2Kristian HellströmSWE2:00.0est / at 15 yards
3Harvey SuttonANZ
4Frank SheehanUSA

Final (21 July 1908 — 17:00)

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Mel SheppardUSA1:52.8WR
2Emilio LunghiITA1:54.2est
3Hanns BraunGER1:55.2est
4Ödön BodorHUN1:55.4est
5Theodore JustGBR1:56.4est
6John HalsteadUSA
ACIvo Fairbairn-CrawfordGBRDNF
ACClarke BeardUSADNF

Splits

400 m53.0Mel Sheppard