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| Event type

800 metres, Men

Date23 – 26 November 1956
StatusOlympic
LocationMelbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants38 from 24 countries

At an international meet is Oslo in August 1955, Roger Moens (BEL) won, defeating Norway’s Audun Boysen, in a time of 1:45.7, with Boysen posting 1:45.9, both runners surpassing the world record of Rudolf Harbig, set in 1939. The other great race that year came at the Pan-American Games when Arnie Sowell (USA) defeated his countryman, Lon Spurrier. Sowell was AAU Champion in 1955-56, but American Tom Courtney was probably a slight favorite in Melbourne, having won the US Olympic Trials. Moens could not compete, having injured his knee a few months before the Olympics. In the Olympic final, Courtney led at the start but Sowell soon took over. He led thru 600 metres, the first lap done in 52.8. At 600, four were in contention for medals – Courtney, Sowell, Boysen and Britain’s Derek Johnson. At the top of the stretch, Johnson and Courtney took a slight lead and battled together to the line, with Courtney winning in the lean.

PosNrAthleteNOCR1SFFinal
1153Tom CourtneyUSA1:52.7 (1 h2)1:53.6 (1 h1)1:47.7 (1)GoldOR
2137Derek JohnsonGBR1:50.8 (1 h5)1:50.2 (3 h2)1:47.8 (2)Silver
3148Audun BoysenNOR1:52.0 (1 h1)1:50.0 (2 h2)1:48.1 (3)Bronze
4154Arnie SowellUSA1:51.3 (2 h3)1:50.0 (1 h2)1:48.3 (4)
5136Michael FarrellGBR1:52.8 (2 h2)1:53.7 (3 h1)1:49.2 (5)
6155Lon SpurrierUSA1:51.5 (2 h4)1:53.6 (2 h1)1:49.3 (6)
7126Émile LevaBEL1:52.0 (3 h3)1:50.4 (4 h2)1:51.8 (7)
8124Bill ButchartAUS1:51.6 (3 h4)1:53.8 (4 h1)1:52.0 (8)
5 h1 r2/3688Lajos SzentgáliHUN1:51.8 (3 h5)1:53.9 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/3138Mike RawsonGBR1:52.1 (2 h1)1:50.4 (5 h2)
6 h1 r2/3143Yoshitaka MuroyaJPN1:52.3 (3 h1)1:54.5 (6 h1)
6 h2 r2/3132René DjianFRA1:51.1 (2 h5)1:50.7 (6 h2)
7 h2 r2/3123Jim BaileyAUS1:51.1 (1 h3)1:51.4 (7 h2)
8 h2 r2/3140Evangelos DepastasGRE1:53.1 (3 h2)1:52.0 (8 h2)
1 h4 r1/3130Gunnar NielsenDEN1:51.2 (1 h4)– (DNS h1)
4 h1 r1/3106Gérard RasquinLUX1:52.7 (4 h1)
4 h2 r1/3125Don MacMillanAUS1:53.4 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/3141Sohan SinghIND1:52.4 (4 h3)
4 h4 r1/3142Gianfranco BaraldiITA1:51.9 (4 h4)
4 h5 r1/3129Ramón SandovalCHI1:51.9 (4 h5)
5 h1 r1/3139Dimitrios KonstantinidisGRE1:52.7 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/3144Shigeharu SuzukiJPN1:54.1 (5 h2)
5 h3 r1/3128Eduardo FontecillaCHI1:52.8 (5 h3)
5 h4 r1/3111Abdullah KhanPAK1:52.6 (5 h4)
5 h5 r1/3134Klaus RichtzenhainGER1:53.3 (5 h5)
6 h1 r1/3150Frank RiveraPUR1:56.4 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/3135Paul SchmidtGER1:55.6 (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/3133Günter DohrowGER1:53.7 (6 h3)
6 h4 r1/3146Sim Sang-OkKOR1:55.5 (6 h4)
6 h5 r1/3149Mahmoud JanPAK1:59.5 (6 h5)
7 h1 r1/3304Mamo WoldeETH1:58.0 (7 h1)
7 h2 r1/3108Manikavagasam HarichandraMAL– (7 h2)
7 h3 r1/3143Kiptalam KeterKEN– (7 h3)
7 h4 r1/3668George JohnsonLBR– (7 h4)
8 h2 r1/3127Doug ClementCAN– (8 h2)
8 h3 r1/3303Ajanew BayeneETH– (8 h3)
9 h2 r1/3152Phol JaiswangTHA– (9 h2)
9 h3 r1/3109Kenneth PereraMAL– (9 h3)
DNS669Joseph NarmahLBR– (DNS h5)
DNS90Murray CockburnCAN– (DNS h1)
DNS131Olavi SalsolaFIN– (DNS h1)
DNS689István RózsavölgyiHUN– (DNS h2)
DNS102Ronnie DelanyIRL– (DNS h4)
DNS103George KerrJAM– (DNS h5)
DNS147Josy BarthelLUX– (DNS h5)
DNS151Dan WaernSWE– (DNS h1)
DNS626Stanislav JungwirthTCH– (DNS h4)

Round One (23 November 1956 — 16:15)

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

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
12Audun BoysenNOR1:52.01:52.08Q
25Mike RawsonGBR1:52.11:52.20Q
37Yoshitaka MuroyaJPN1:52.31:52.42Q
49Gérard RasquinLUX1:52.71:52.88
56Dimitrios KonstantinidisGRE1:52.71:53.03
61Frank RiveraPUR1:56.41:56.58
74Mamo WoldeETH1:58.0
DNS10Murray CockburnCAN
DNS8Olavi SalsolaFIN
DNS3Dan WaernSWE

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
110Tom CourtneyUSA1:52.71:52.83Q
23Michael FarrellGBR1:52.81:52.86Q
39Evangelos DepastasGRE1:53.11:53.23Q
44Don MacMillanAUS1:53.41:53.50
56Shigeharu SuzukiJPN1:54.11:54.29
65Paul SchmidtGER1:55.61:55.71
77Manikavagasam HarichandraMAL1:56.27
81Doug ClementCAN1:56.92
92Phol JaiswangTHA
DNS8István RózsavölgyiHUN

Heat Three

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Jim BaileyAUS1:51.11:51.13Q
27Arnie SowellUSA1:51.31:51.27Q
31Émile LevaBEL1:52.01:52.03Q
49Sohan SinghIND1:52.41:52.57
54Eduardo FontecillaCHI1:52.81:52.94
68Günter DohrowGER1:53.71:53.90
75Kiptalam KeterKEN1:56.13
86Ajanew BayeneETH
92Kenneth PereraMAL

Heat Four

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
16Gunnar NielsenDEN1:51.21:51.27Q
29Lon SpurrierUSA1:51.51:51.52Q
35Bill ButchartAUS1:51.61:51.67Q
42Gianfranco BaraldiITA1:51.91:51.90
53Abdullah KhanPAK1:52.61:52.71
68Sim Sang-OkKOR1:55.51:55.56
77George JohnsonLBR
DNS4Ronnie DelanyIRL
DNS1Stanislav JungwirthTCH

Heat Five

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Derek JohnsonGBR1:50.81:50.93Q
27René DjianFRA1:51.11:51.15Q
35Lajos SzentgáliHUN1:51.81:51.89Q
49Ramón SandovalCHI1:51.91:52.12
54Klaus RichtzenhainGER1:53.31:53.47
63Mahmoud JanPAK1:59.5
DNS8Joseph NarmahLBR
DNS6George KerrJAM
DNS2Josy BarthelLUX

Semi-Finals (24 November 1956 — 16:00)

Top four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Tom CourtneyUSA1:53.61:53.62Q
22Lon SpurrierUSA1:53.61:53.71Q
33Michael FarrellGBR1:53.71:53.78Q
46Bill ButchartAUS1:53.81:53.81Q
57Lajos SzentgáliHUN1:53.91:53.94
65Yoshitaka MuroyaJPN1:54.51:54.68
DNS4Gunnar NielsenDEN

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Arnie SowellUSA1:50.01:50.08Q
27Audun BoysenNOR1:50.01:50.20Q
38Derek JohnsonGBR1:50.21:50.23Q
45Émile LevaBEL1:50.41:50.44Q
53Mike RawsonGBR1:50.41:50.45
62René DjianFRA1:50.71:50.47
74Jim BaileyAUS1:51.41:51.40
86Evangelos DepastasGRE1:52.01:52.19

Final (26 November 1956 — 15:30)

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
12Tom CourtneyUSA1:47.71:47.75OR
26Derek JohnsonGBR1:47.81:47.88
34Audun BoysenNOR1:48.11:48.25
43Arnie SowellUSA1:48.31:48.41
55Michael FarrellGBR1:49.21:49.29
68Lon SpurrierUSA1:49.31:49.38
71Émile LevaBEL1:51.81:51.75
87Bill ButchartAUS1:52.0

Splits

200 m25.1Arnie Sowell
400 m52.8Arnie Sowell
600 m1:20.4