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| Event type

1,500 metres, Men

Date29 November – 1 December 1956
StatusOlympic
LocationMelbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants37 from 22 countries

In 1954, Britain’s Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier for the mile, and won the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. But he was a medical student and elected not to continue competing thru the 1956 Olympics. By the time of the Melbourne Olympics, four other runners had broken four minutes for the mile – Hungary’s László Tábori, two Britons, Chris Chataway and Brian Hewson, and Australian John Landy. Landy hoped to win the 1,500 in front of his countrymen, and he had the best record of any of the contenders. Unlike 1952, there were only two rounds, which qualified 12 for the final, among them Landy, Tábori, Hewson, and Ireland’s Ron Delany. The final was led out by Landy’s teammate, Merv Lincoln. The field was closely bunched with Delany running at the rear. Hewson took the lead on the third lap and led thru 1,200 metres in 3:01.3. Delany was still near the rear but on the backstretch he moved up and passed Hewson at the head of the final straight, pulling away to win the gold medal in a major upset. Germany’s Klaus Richtzenhain was second, while John Landy, who had run an indifferent race, finished strongly for the bronze medal.

PosNrAthleteNOCR1Final
1102Ronnie DelanyIRL3:47.4 (3 h2)3:41.2 (1)GoldOR
2134Klaus RichtzenhainGER3:46.6 (1 h1)3:42.0 (2)Silver
3156John LandyAUS3:48.6 (3 h3)3:42.0 (3)Bronze
4686László TáboriHUN3:48.0 (4 h2)3:42.4 (4)
5162Brian HewsonGBR3:48.0 (2 h3)3:42.6 (5)
6626Stanislav JungwirthTCH3:46.6 (2 h1)3:42.6 (6)
7167Neville ScottNZL3:48.0 (1 h3)3:42.8 (7)
8163Ian BoydGBR3:47.0 (3 h1)3:43.0 (8)
9161Ken WoodGBR3:46.6 (2 h2)3:44.3 (9)
10130Gunnar NielsenDEN3:48.6 (4 h3)3:45.0 (10)
11166Murray HalbergNZL3:47.2 (4 h1)3:45.2 (11)
12157Merv LincolnAUS3:45.4 (1 h2)3:51.9 (12)
5 h1 r1/2689István RózsavölgyiHUN3:49.4 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/2169Ingvar EricssonSWE3:49.0 (5 h2)
5 h3 r1/2151Dan WaernSWE3:48.8 (5 h3)
6 h1 r1/2158André BallieuxBEL3:49.8 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/2174Yevgeny SokolovURS3:49.2 (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/2142Gianfranco BaraldiITA3:52.0 (6 h3)
7 h1 r1/2159Michel JazyFRA3:50.0 (7 h1)
7 h2 r1/2140Evangelos DepastasGRE3:52.0 (7 h2)
7 h3 r1/2175Sergey SukhanovURS3:53.0 (7 h3)
8 h1 r1/2173Ted WheelerUSA3:50.1 (8 h1)
8 h2 r1/2131Olavi SalsolaFIN3:55.0 (8 h2)
8 h3 r1/2172Jerome WaltersUSA3:55.7 (8 h3)
9 h1 r1/2176Jonas PipynėURS3:50.6 (9 h1)
9 h2 r1/2133Günter DohrowGER3:58.0 (9 h2)
9 h3 r1/2164Georgios PapavasileiouGRE3:57.0 (9 h3)
10 h1 r1/2147Josy BarthelLUX3:50.6 (10 h1)
10 h2 r1/2129Ramón SandovalCHI3:58.1 (10 h2)
10 h3 r1/2128Eduardo FontecillaCHI3:58.6 (10 h3)
11 h1 r1/2304Mamo WoldeETH3:51.0 (11 h1)
11 h2 r1/2171Don BowdenUSA3:59.7 (11 h2)
12 h2 r1/2126Émile LevaBEL4:06.0 (12 h2)
13 h2 r1/2146Sim Sang-OkKOR4:09.0 (13 h2)
14 h2 r1/2149Mahmoud JanPAK4:15.0 (14 h2)
15 h2 r1/2170Somnuek SrisombatTHA4:30.0 (15 h2)
AC h3 r1/2160Siegfried HerrmannGER– (AC h3)
DNS669Joseph NarmahLBR– (DNS h1)
DNS168Muhammad AnwarPAK– (DNS h3)
DNS123Jim BaileyAUS– (DNS h1)
DNS139Dimitrios KonstantinidisGRE– (DNS h1)
DNS668George JohnsonLBR– (DNS h3)
DNS148Audun BoysenNOR– (DNS h3)
DNS152Phol JaiswangTHA– (DNS h1)
DNS177Veliša MugošaYUG– (DNS h3)

Round One (29 November 1956 — 16:30)

Top four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
115Klaus RichtzenhainGER3:46.63:46.76Q
25Stanislav JungwirthTCH3:46.63:46.79Q
32Ian BoydGBR3:47.03:47.13Q
49Murray HalbergNZL3:47.23:47.39Q
56István RózsavölgyiHUN3:49.43:49.54
610André BallieuxBEL3:49.83:49.94
77Michel JazyFRA3:50.03:49.95
811Ted WheelerUSA3:50.13:50.02
912Jonas PipynėURS3:50.63:50.86
103Josy BarthelLUX3:50.63:50.64
111Mamo WoldeETH3:51.0
DNS8Joseph NarmahLBR
DNS4Jim BaileyAUS
DNS14Dimitrios KonstantinidisGRE
DNS13Phol JaiswangTHA

Splits

400 m57.1Jonas Pipynė
800 m2:00.2Jonas Pipynė
1200 mKlaus Richtzenhain

Heat Two

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
18Merv LincolnAUS3:45.43:45.63Q
24Ken WoodGBR3:46.63:46.90Q
37Ronnie DelanyIRL3:47.43:47.48Q
49László TáboriHUN3:48.03:48.21Q
512Ingvar EricssonSWE3:49.03:49.20
65Yevgeny SokolovURS3:49.23:49.27
72Evangelos DepastasGRE3:52.03:51.79
811Olavi SalsolaFIN3:55.0
913Günter DohrowGER3:58.0
1014Ramón SandovalCHI3:58.1
111Don BowdenUSA3:59.7
1210Émile LevaBEL4:06.0
1315Sim Sang-OkKOR4:09.0
146Mahmoud JanPAK4:15.0
153Somnuek SrisombatTHA4:30.0

Splits

400 m57.1Yevgeny Sokolov
800 m1:58.5Yevgeny Sokolov
1200 m3:00.2Merv Lincoln

Heat Three

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Neville ScottNZL3:48.03:48.09Q
24Brian HewsonGBR3:48.03:48.10Q
39John LandyAUS3:48.63:48.67Q
46Gunnar NielsenDEN3:48.63:48.80Q
52Dan WaernSWE3:48.83:48.84
61Gianfranco BaraldiITA3:52.03:52.20
78Sergey SukhanovURS3:53.03:52.96
83Jerome WaltersUSA3:55.73:55.60
912Georgios PapavasileiouGRE3:57.03:57.57
107Eduardo FontecillaCHI3:58.63:58.45
AC14Siegfried HerrmannGERDNF
DNS13Muhammad AnwarPAK
DNS10George JohnsonLBR
DNS15Audun BoysenNOR
DNS11Veliša MugošaYUG

Splits

400 m1:02.1Dan Waern
800 m2:05.2Dan Waern
1200 mDan Waern

Final (1 December 1956 — 16:15)

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
111Ronnie DelanyIRL3:41.23:41.49OR
25Klaus RichtzenhainGER3:42.03:42.02
39John LandyAUS3:42.03:42.03
47László TáboriHUN3:42.43:42.55
52Brian HewsonGBR3:42.63:42.69
610Stanislav JungwirthTCH3:42.63:42.80
78Neville ScottNZL3:42.83:42.87
84Ian BoydGBR3:43.03:42.94
93Ken WoodGBR3:44.33:44.76
1012Gunnar NielsenDEN3:45.03:45.58
111Murray HalbergNZL3:45.23:46.09
126Merv LincolnAUS3:51.9

Splits

400 m58.4Murray Halberg
800 m2:00.1Merv Lincoln
1200 m3:01.3Brian Hewson