| Event type

5,000 metres, Men

Date31 July – 2 August 1948
LocationEmpire Stadium, Wembley, London
Participants33 from 21 countries

The world record and 14-minute barrier had been broken in 1942 by Sweden’s Gunder Hägg but he had been declared a professional and never competed in the Olympics. The 1946 European Champion was Britain’s Sydney Wooderson but he was injured and did not compete in London. A few days before the 5K final, Czechoslovakia’s Emil Zátopek had won the 10,000. He pushed the pace immediately in this race, with only Gaston Reiff (BEL), Erik Ahldén (SWE), and Wim Slijkhuis (NED), the 1946 European silver medalist, able to stay in contact. On the ninth lap, Reiff pulled away from the group and opened up a lead which grew to 30 metres by the bell lap. But with 300 metres to go, Zátopek took flight after Reiff and almost closed the margin by the tape, finishing only a metre in arrears. Reiff’s gold medal was the first ever for Belgium in track & field athletics.

1175Gaston ReiffBEL15:07.0 (2 h3)14:17.6 (1)GoldOR
2203Emil ZátopekTCH14:34.4 (2 h2)14:17.8 (2)Silver
3189Wim SlijkhuisNED15:06.8 (1 h3)14:26.8 (3)Bronze
4224Erik AhldénSWE14:34.2 (1 h2)14:28.6 (4)
5225Bertil AlbertssonSWE15:07.8 (3 h3)14:39.0 (5)
6232Curt StoneUSA14:58.6 (3 h1)14:39.4 (6)
7207Väinö KoskelaFIN14:58.3 (2 h1)14:41.0 (7)
8208Väinö MäkeläFIN14:45.8 (3 h2)14:43.0 (8)
9201Marcel VandewattyneBEL15:14.0 (4 h1)– (9)
10221Martin StokkenNOR15:04.4 (4 h2)– (10)
11206Helge PeräläFIN15:07.8 (4 h3)– (11)
AC226Evert NybergSWE14:58.2 (1 h1)– (DNF)
5 h1 r1/2211Jacques VernierFRA15:29.8 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/2210Maurice PouzieuxFRA15:09.8 (5 h2)
5 h3 r1/2231Jerry ThompsonUSA15:08.4 (5 h3)
6 h1 r1/2219Harry NelsonNZL15:34.4 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/2223Gregorio RojoESP15:19.0 (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/2209Alain MimounFRA15:11.2 (6 h3)
7 h1 r1/2216Jef LatasterNED15:39.0 (7 h1)
7 h2 r1/2213Bill LucasGBR– (7 h2)
7 h3 r1/2214Alec OlneyGBR– (7 h3)
8 h1 r1/2212Jack BraughtonGBR– (8 h1)
8 h2 r1/2202Luo WenaoCHN– (8 h2)
8 h3 r1/2218Martín AlarcónMEX– (8 h3)
9 h1 r1/2176Cliff SalmondCAN16:05.0 (9 h1)
9 h2 r1/2215Vasilis MavrapostolosGRE– (9 h2)
9 h3 r1/2227Ernst GüntherSUI– (9 h3)
10 h1 r1/2228Manny RamjohnTTO– (10 h1)
10 h2 r1/2217Sim Bok-SeokKOR– (10 h2)
AC h1 r1/2204Aage PoulsenDEN– (DNF h1)
AC h1 r1/2181John Joe BarryIRL– (DNF h1)
AC h2 r1/2229Mustafa ÖzcanTUR– (DNF h2)
AC h2 r1/2230Clarence RobisonUSA– (DNF h2)
DNS205Martin EganIRL– (DNS h3)
DNS200Ricardo BraloARG– (DNS h3)
DNS222Constantino Miranda JustoESP– (DNS h1)
DNS220Jakob KjersemNOR– (DNS h3)

Round One (31 July 1948 — 16:00)

Top four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1226Evert NybergSWE14:58.2Q
2207Väinö KoskelaFIN14:58.3Q
3232Curt StoneUSA14:58.6Q
4201Marcel VandewattyneBEL15:14.0Q
5211Jacques VernierFRA15:29.8
6219Harry NelsonNZL15:34.4
7216Jef LatasterNED15:39.0
8212Jack BraughtonGBR
9176Cliff SalmondCAN16:05.0
10228Manny RamjohnTTO
DNF204Aage PoulsenDEN
DNF181John Joe BarryIRL
DNS222Constantino Miranda JustoESP

Heat Two

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1224Erik AhldénSWE14:34.214:34.9Q
2203Emil ZátopekTCH14:34.414:34.94Q
3208Väinö MäkeläFIN14:45.8Q
4221Martin StokkenNOR15:04.4Q
5210Maurice PouzieuxFRA15:09.8
6223Gregorio RojoESP15:19.0
7213Bill LucasGBR
8202Luo WenaoCHN
9215Vasilis MavrapostolosGRE
10217Sim Bok-SeokKOR
DNF229Mustafa ÖzcanTUR
DNF230Clarence RobisonUSA

Heat Three

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1189Wim SlijkhuisNED15:06.815:06.8Q
2175Gaston ReiffBEL15:07.015:07.46Q
3225Bertil AlbertssonSWE15:07.815:07.96Q
4206Helge PeräläFIN15:07.815:08.01Q
5231Jerry ThompsonUSA15:08.415:08.72
6209Alain MimounFRA15:11.2
7214Alec OlneyGBR
8218Martín AlarcónMEX
9227Ernst GüntherSUI
DNS205Martin EganIRL
DNS200Ricardo BraloARG
DNS220Jakob KjersemNOR

Final (2 August 1948 — 17:00)

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1175Gaston ReiffBEL14:17.6OR
2203Emil ZátopekTCH14:17.814:17.86
3189Wim SlijkhuisNED14:26.8
4224Erik AhldénSWE14:28.6
5225Bertil AlbertssonSWE14:39.0
6232Curt StoneUSA14:39.4
7207Väinö KoskelaFIN14:41.0
8208Väinö MäkeläFIN14:43.0
9201Marcel VandewattyneBEL
10221Martin StokkenNOR
11206Helge PeräläFIN
DNF226Evert NybergSWE