| Event type

Marathon, Men

Date 7 August 1932 — 15:30
LocationLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
Participants28 from 14 countries
Format42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) out-and-back.
Olympic Record 2-32:35.8 WR / Hannes Kolehmainen FIN / 22 August 1920

The early favorite in 1932 was considered to be the great Finnish runner, Paavo Nurmi, who had never run a full marathon. In June he entered the Finnish Olympic trial, but announced to the official he would stop at around 40 km., because of an Achilles’ tendon problem. His time to there was just over 2-22, equivalent to about a 2-29 marathon, which would have won the race by six minutes. Nurmi made the trip to Los Angeles but did not run the Olympic marathon. Three days before the Olympics began, the IAAF suspended him for having accepted excessive expense money during some of his tours. He was declared a professional and was not allowed to compete in the Olympics.

The 1932 Olympic marathon course started and finished at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but was a loop course around Los Angeles. The best known runners in the race were two Britons, Sam Ferris and Duncan McLeod Wright. Also highly considered was the winner of the Finnish trial, Armas Toivonen. The Americans had no top contender but interestingly, an Argentine, Juan Carlos Zabala, had run in two of the American trial races, having come to the United States to acclimate himself. In the race, a stretched-out pack of five led thru 24 miles, which included Zabala, Ferris, Wright, Toivonen, and Japan’s Seiichiro Tsuda. Zabala took the lead but was struggling. Ferris, in fourth, was the freshest and closed quickly as they neared the stadium. But he had not started his surge soon enough, and Zabala won on the track by 19 seconds, with Ferris second, and Toivonen third. Zabala attempted two more marathons in his career, but never again finished the race.

1Juan Carlos ZabalaARG2-31:36GoldOB
2Sam FerrisGBR2-31:55Silver
3Armas ToivonenFIN2-32:12Bronze
4Duncan WrightGBR2-32:41
5Seiichiro TsudaJPN2-35:42
6Kim Un-BaeJPN2-37:281
7Whitey MichelsenUSA2-39:38
8Oskar HekšTCH2-41:35
9Kwon Tae-HaJPN2-42:522
10Anders Hartington AndersenDEN2-44:38
11Hans OldagUSA2-47:26
12Cliff BrickerCAN2-47:58
13Michele FanelliITA2-49:093
14Johnny MilesCAN2-50:32
15Paul de BruynGER2-52:39
16François BégeotFRA2-53:34
17Fernando ChacarelliARG2-55:49
18Eddie CudworthCAN2-58:35
19João Clemente da SilvaBRA3-02:06
20Margarito PomposoMEX3-10:51
ACMatheus MarcondesBRADNF
ACVille KyrönenFINDNF
ACLasse VirtanenFINDNF
ACFrancesco RoccatiITADNF
ACSantiago HernándezMEXDNF
ACJimmy HeniganUSADNF
DNSFranz TuschekAUT
DNSRené BonichCUB
DNSAdalberto CardosoBRA
DNSAlfred MaasikEST
DNSBilly SavidanNZL