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| Event type

800 metres, Men

Date6 – 8 July 1912
StatusOlympic
LocationStockholms Olympiastadion, Stockholm
Participants47 from 16 countries
Olympic Record 1:52.8 WR / Mel Sheppard USA / 21 July 1908

The defending Olympic champion was America’s Mel Sheppard, who had won the AAU title over 880 yards in 1911 and won the eastern U.S. Olympic Trial in 1912. But two other Americans began to challenge him in the interim between Olympics. John Paul Jones, a college runner at Cornell, won the IC4A title in both 1911 and 1912. But a Philadelphia high school student, James Edwin “Ted“ Meredith, of Mercersburg Academy, came to prominence at both 440 and 880 yards early in 1912, setting interscholastic records at both distances only a few weeks before the Olympic trials. At the eastern Olympic Trials, Meredith ran third behind Sheppard.

The best of the Europeans were Germany’s Hanns Braun, who had won the AAA title in 1911 and 1912, and Italy’s Emilio Lunghi, who equalled Sheppard’s world record of 1:52.8 (set at the London Olympics) in winning the 1909 Canadian Championship. At La Spezia, on 23 June, Lunghi confirmed his fitness with a 400/800 double of 49.0 and 1:55.0.

The five favorites all survived the first round, but John Paul Jones did not compete in the semi-finals. The American trainer, Michael Murphy, thought he had a better chance at 1,500 metres, so he withdrew Jones to save him for the longer race. In the second semi, Lunghi faltered in the stretch and finished fifth, one place from qualifying for the final.

In the final, Mel Sheppard led out at a very fast pace, reaching 400 metres in 52.4. But entering the homestretch, Sheppard could not hold off Ted Meredith, who won by inches in a world record time of 1:51.9. Ira Davenport (USA) came up fast in the last 200 metres to take the bronze medal. Meredith continued to a second tape set at 880 yards, passing that mark in 1:52.5, also a world record.

The official results for the non-medalists, from the Official Report, were 4) Braun 1:52.2; 5) David Caldwell 1:52.3; and 6) Melville Brock - no time. But concerning places 4-6, Olympic Track & Field states that, “However, these places and times do not stand up under close scrutiny of available photographs and reports from various sources. We here list ‘revised’ results.” The revised results that they listed were 4) Brock 1:52.7e; 5) Caldwell 1:52.8e; and 6) Braun 1:53.1e.

Quercetani and Kök describe this problem as follows: “Even the expert Swedish judges made mistakes in determining the other places, notably in giving a fourth place to Braun in 1:52.2, a time which the German federation recognized in … 1924. In reality, the most dependable witnesses say that the exhausted Braun finished in slow motion, beaten by Caldwell and possibly even by Brock. Without guaranteeing absolute exactness (photographs, taken mostly before the finish and at different angles, don’t help much) the order of finish from fourth onwards can be tentatively reconstructed as follows (times are estimated): 4. Caldwell 1:52.8; 5. Brock 1:53; 6. Braun 1:53; 7. Hec Edmundsen; 8. Herbert Putnam.”

PosNrAthleteNOCR1SFFinal
1Ted MeredithUSA– (2 h8)1:54.4 (1 h1)1:51.9 (1)GoldWR
2Mel SheppardUSA– (2 h7)1:54.8 (3 h1)1:52.0 (2)Silver
3Ira DavenportUSA1:59.0 (1 h5)1:55.9 (4 h2)1:52.0 (3)Bronze
4David CaldwellUSA1:58.6 (1 h1)1:55.9 (3 h2)1:52.8est (4)
5Mel BrockCAN1:57.0 (1 h8)1:55.7 (1 h2)1:53.0est (5)
6Hanns BraunGER– (2 h9)1:54.6 (2 h1)1:53.0est (6)
7Hec EdmundsonUSA1:56.5 (1 h4)1:55.8 (2 h2)– (7)
8Herbert PutnamUSAat 5 metres (2 h2)1:55.0 (4 h1)– (8)
5 h1 r2/3Jack TaitCAN– (2 h4)– (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/3Emilio LunghiITAat 7 metres (2 h1)– (5 h2)
6 h1 r2/3Percy MannGBR– (1 h2)– (6 h1)
AC h1 r2/3Fred HulfordGBR– (2 h5)– (AC h1)
AC h1 r2/3James SoutterGBR2:00.4 (1 h7)– (AC h1)
AC h2 r2/3Ernest HenleyGBR1:57.6 (1 h9)– (AC h2)
AC h2 r2/3Armando CortesãoPOR– (2 h3)– (AC h2)
AC h2 r2/3Evert BjörnSWE– (2 h6)– (AC h2)
AC h2 r2/3Harlan HoldenUSA1:58.1 (1 h6)– (AC h2)
1 h3 r1/3John Paul JonesUSA2:01.8 (1 h3)
3 h1 r1/3Walter McClureUSA– (3 h1)
3 h2 r1/3Ole Jacob PedersenNOR– (3 h2)
3 h3 r1/3Oscar LarsenNOR– (3 h3)
3 h4 r1/3Charles PoulenardFRA– (3 h4)
3 h5 r1/3Ödön BodorHUN– (3 h5)
3 h6 r1/3Richard YorkeGBR– (3 h6)
3 h7 r1/3Erich LehmannGER– (3 h7)
3 h8 r1/3John VictorRSA– (3 h8)
=3 h9 r1/3Erik FrisellSWE1:59.2 (=3 h9)
=3 h9 r1/3Thomas HalpinUSA1:59.2 (=3 h9)
4 h1 r1/3Eric LindholmSWE– (4 h1)
4 h4 r1/3Willie JahnGER2:02.0 (4 h4)
4 h5 r1/3Jacques PersonGER– (4 h5)
4 h6 r1/3Karl HaglundSWE2:01.2 (4 h6)
5 h1 r1/3Joseph CaulléFRA– (5 h1)
5 h5 r1/3Dmitry NazarovRUS– (5 h5)
AC h2 r1/3Leopoldo PalmaCHI– (AC h2)
AC h3 r1/3Guido CalviITA– (AC h3)
AC h4 r1/3Robert BurtonGBR– (AC h4)
AC h5 r1/3Zdeněk MěsteckýBOH– (AC h5)
AC h5 r1/3Philip BakerGBR– (AC h5)
AC h6 r1/3Federico MuellerCHI– (AC h6)
AC h6 r1/3Ferenc ForgácsHUN– (AC h6)
AC h6 r1/3Aleksandr YelizarovRUS– (AC h6)
AC h6 r1/3Vahram PapazyanTUR– (AC h6)
AC h7 r1/3János AntalHUN– (AC h7)
AC h8 r1/3Alan PattersonGBR– (AC h8)
AC h9 r1/3Lauri PihkalaFIN– (AC h9)
AC h9 r1/3Károly RadóczyHUN– (AC h9)
DNSEugène GeriotFRA
DNSErling SøilandNOR
DNSNaum FilimonovRUS
DNSZdzisław LatawiecAUT
DNSLennart AndrénSWE
DNSJames HillGBR
DNSMarius EtcheparréFRA
DNSOtto PalotaiHUN
DNSRobert HalesGBR
DNSJosef LindblomSWE
DNSAlex DubourgFRA
DNSHarry GissingUSA
DNSGeorges BerretrotFRA
DNSLester BermondUSA
DNSKonstant GernRUS
DNSAugust MeosRUS
DNSImre LászlóHUN
DNSVáclav Labík-GreganBOH
DNSHenri ArnaudFRA
DNSLaurie AndersonGBR
DNSTeofil SavnikyHUN
DNSPyotr GayevskyRUS
DNSJohan DahlinSWE
DNSNils FrykbergSWE
DNSThorild OlssonSWE
DNSErnst WideSWE

Round One (6 July 1912 — 14:45)

Top two in each heat advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1David CaldwellUSA1:58.6Q
2Emilio LunghiITAat 7 metresQ
3Walter McClureUSA
4Eric LindholmSWE
5Joseph CaulléFRA

Heat Two

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Percy MannGBRQ
2Herbert PutnamUSAat 5 metresQ
3Ole Jacob PedersenNOR
ACLeopoldo PalmaCHIDNF

Heat Three

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1John Paul JonesUSA2:01.8Q
2Armando CortesãoPORQ
3Oscar LarsenNOR
ACGuido CalviITA

Heat Four

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Hec EdmundsonUSA1:56.5Q
2Jack TaitCANQ
3Charles PoulenardFRA
4Willie JahnGER2:02.0
ACRobert BurtonGBRDNF

Heat Five

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Ira DavenportUSA1:59.0Q
2Fred HulfordGBRQ
3Ödön BodorHUN
4Jacques PersonGER
5Dmitry NazarovRUS
ACZdeněk MěsteckýBOHDNF
ACPhilip BakerGBRDNF

Heat Six

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Harlan HoldenUSA1:58.1Q
2Evert BjörnSWEQ
3Richard YorkeGBR
4Karl HaglundSWE2:01.2
ACFerenc ForgácsHUN
ACFederico MuellerCHI
ACAleksandr YelizarovRUS
ACVahram PapazyanTUR

Heat Seven

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1James SoutterGBR2:00.4Q
2Mel SheppardUSAQ
3Erich LehmannGER
ACJános AntalHUNDNF

Heat Eight

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Mel BrockCAN1:57.0Q
2Ted MeredithUSAQ
3John VictorRSA
ACAlan PattersonGBRDNF

Heat Nine

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Ernest HenleyGBR1:57.6Q
2Hanns BraunGERQ
=3Erik FrisellSWE1:59.2
=3Thomas HalpinUSA1:59.2
ACKároly RadóczyHUNDNF
ACLauri PihkalaFINDNF

Semi-Finals (7 July 1912)

Top four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One (15:15)

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Ted MeredithUSA1:54.4Q
2Hanns BraunGER1:54.6Q
3Mel SheppardUSA1:54.8Q
4Herbert PutnamUSA1:55.0Q
5Jack TaitCAN
6Percy MannGBR
ACFred HulfordGBRDNF
ACJames SoutterGBRDNF

Heat Two (15:30)

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Mel BrockCAN1:55.7Q
2Hec EdmundsonUSA1:55.8Q
3David CaldwellUSA1:55.9Q
4Ira DavenportUSA1:55.9Q
5Emilio LunghiITA
ACHarlan HoldenUSA
ACErnest HenleyGBR
ACEvert BjörnSWE
ACArmando CortesãoPOR

Final (8 July 1912 — 17:00)

PosNrAthleteNOCTime
1Ted MeredithUSA1:51.9WR
2Mel SheppardUSA1:52.0
3Ira DavenportUSA1:52.0
4David CaldwellUSA1:52.8est
5Mel BrockCAN1:53.0est
6Hanns BraunGER1:53.0est
7Hec EdmundsonUSA
8Herbert PutnamUSA

Splits

400 m52.4Mel Sheppard