| Event type

5,000 metres, Men

Date26 – 28 November 1956
LocationMelbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants23 from 13 countries
Olympic Record 14:06.6 / Emil Zátopek TCH / 24 July 1952

The great distance champion of the 1952 Olympics, Emil Zátopek, was still competing but chose to run only the marathon in Melbourne. At the 1954 European Championships, the gold was won by Soviet Volodymyr Kuts over Britain’s Chris Chataway, with Zátopek third. Kuts and Chataway both broke the world 5K record in 1954. Then in 1955, Kuts and Hungary’s Sándor Iharos exchanged the record. Iharos had had a dominating year in 1955 in distance running, setting six world records at distance between 1,500 and 5,000 metres, and in early 1956 set world records at six miles and 10K. The Melbourne 5K was expected to be a great battle between Kuts, Iharos, and Chataway. But shortly before the Olympics, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to put down a democratic uprising in that country. Although Hungary competed in Melbourne, Iharos stayed back home, unsuccessfully working the telephone exchanges.

The final of this event came down to Kuts and a British runner, but it was not Chataway who was suffering from stomach cramps in the final and finished only 11th. Kuts was by far the strongest. He pushed the pace from the beginning, with only the three Britons staying in contact early, Chataway, Gordon Pirie and Derek Ibbotson. But by 4,000, Kuts was clear of the field and continued pulling away, winning by 11 seconds in the largest margin of victory ever for this event.

1200Volodymyr KutsURS14:15.4 (2 h2)13:39.6 (1)GoldOR
2189Gordon PirieGBR14:25.6 (1 h1)13:50.6 (2)Silver
3188Derek IbbotsonGBR14:18.8 (4 h2)13:54.4 (3)Bronze
4685Miklós SzabóHUN14:32.6 (4 h3)14:03.4 (4)
5179Albie ThomasAUS14:14.2 (1 h3)14:04.6 (5)
6686László TáboriHUN14:18.6 (3 h2)14:09.8 (6)
7191Nyandika MaiyoroKEN14:29.4 (2 h3)14:19.0 (7)
8182Thyge ThøgersenDEN14:29.0 (5 h1)14:21.0 (8)
9198Pyotr BolotnikovURS14:28.0 (4 h1)14:22.4 (9)
10199Ivan CherniavskiyURS14:32.4 (3 h3)14:22.4 (10)
11187Chris ChatawayGBR14:32.6 (5 h3)14:28.8 (11)
12186Herbert SchadeGER14:18.8 (5 h2)14:31.8 (12)
AC r2/2195Bill DellingerUSA14:26.8 (3 h1)– (AC)
AC r2/2177Veliša MugošaYUG14:25.6 (2 h1)– (AC)
1 h2 r1/2178Al LawrenceAUS14:14.6 (1 h2)– (DNS)
6 h1 r1/2190Arere AnentiaKEN14:37.0 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/2183Ilmari TaipaleFIN14:24.2 (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/2185Friedrich JankeGER14:40.6 (6 h3)
7 h1 r1/2194Rune ÅhlundSWE15:12.0 (7 h1)
7 h2 r1/2196Curt StoneUSA14:52.0 (7 h2)
7 h3 r1/2217Jerzy ChromikPOL14:51.4 (7 h3)
8 h2 r1/2180Doug KyleCAN14:59.0 (8 h2)
AC h1 r1/2193Kazimierz ZimnyPOL– (AC h1)
DNS305Demissie GamatchoETH– (DNS h3)
DNS156John LandyAUS– (DNS h1)
DNS184Alain MimounFRA– (DNS h3)
DNS160Siegfried HerrmannGER– (DNS h1)
DNS164Georgios PapavasileiouGRE– (DNS h3)
DNS687József KovácsHUN– (DNS h1)
DNS509Ali BaghbanbashiIRI– (DNS h2)
DNS192Ernst LarsenNOR– (DNS h2)
DNS218Zdzisław KrzyszkowiakPOL– (DNS h2)
DNS181Emil ZátopekTCH– (DNS h3)
DNS197Max TruexUSA– (DNS h3)

Round One (26 November 1956 — 15:50)

Top five in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
111Gordon PirieGBR14:25.614:25.69Q
22Veliša MugošaYUG14:25.614:25.71Q
310Bill DellingerUSA14:26.814:26.92Q
43Pyotr BolotnikovURS14:28.014:28.17Q
58Thyge ThøgersenDEN14:29.014:29.34Q
65Arere AnentiaKEN14:37.014:37.30
76Rune ÅhlundSWE15:12.0
AC9Kazimierz ZimnyPOLDNF
DNS4John LandyAUS
DNS1Siegfried HerrmannGER
DNS7József KovácsHUN

Heat Two

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Al LawrenceAUS14:14.614:14.67Q
29Volodymyr KutsURS14:15.414:15.47Q
33László TáboriHUN14:18.614:18.75Q
42Derek IbbotsonGBR14:18.814:18.78Q
510Herbert SchadeGER14:18.814:19.25Q
64Ilmari TaipaleFIN14:24.2
77Curt StoneUSA14:52.0
85Doug KyleCAN14:59.0
DNS11Ali BaghbanbashiIRI
DNS8Ernst LarsenNOR
DNS6Zdzisław KrzyszkowiakPOL

Heat Three

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14Albie ThomasAUS14:14.214:14.41Q
212Nyandika MaiyoroKEN14:29.414:29.59Q
35Ivan CherniavskiyURS14:32.414:32.49Q
410Miklós SzabóHUN14:32.614:32.83Q
51Chris ChatawayGBR14:32.614:32.87Q
68Friedrich JankeGER14:40.614:40.89
76Jerzy ChromikPOL14:51.4
DNS2Demissie GamatchoETH
DNS11Alain MimounFRA
DNS7Georgios PapavasileiouGRE
DNS9Emil ZátopekTCH
DNS3Max TruexUSA

Final (28 November 1956 — 16:45)

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
19Volodymyr KutsURS13:39.613:39.86OR
25Gordon PirieGBR13:50.613:50.78
312Derek IbbotsonGBR13:54.413:54.60
415Miklós SzabóHUN14:03.414:03.38
510Albie ThomasAUS14:04.614:05.03
61László TáboriHUN14:09.814:09.99
711Nyandika MaiyoroKEN14:19.014:18.99
83Thyge ThøgersenDEN14:21.014:21.81
92Pyotr BolotnikovURS14:22.414:22.63
107Ivan CherniavskiyURS14:22.414:22.67
114Chris ChatawayGBR14:28.814:28.63
1213Herbert SchadeGER14:31.814:31.90
AC6Bill DellingerUSADNF
AC14Veliša MugošaYUGDNF
DNS8Al LawrenceAUS