| Event type

800 metres, Men

Date31 August – 2 September 1960
LocationStadio Olimpico, Roma
Participants51 from 35 countries

For the first time at the Olympics, the event was run in lanes for the first 100 metres. The favorite was Belgium’s Roger Moens, who had set the world record for 800 with 1:45.7 back in 1955. Injury kept him out of the Melbourne Olympics, but he had been undefeated in 1960 entering the Roma Olympics. Jamaica’s George Kerr, runner-up at the 1959 Pan-American Games, was expected to be his biggest challenger. New Zealander Peter Snell qualified for the final in Roma, but was an unknown quantity with a mediocre PR of 1:49.2y prior to the Olympics. But he won the second semi-final after Kerr won the first. The pace in the final was set by Swiss Christian Wägli, who had three metres on the field at 400, run in 51.9. Moens was second at the bell, with Snell well back, and boxed in. On the final straight, Moens took the lead with Kerr threatening him. He looked around on the straight several times and when seeing that Kerr was beaten, he relaxed. But then Snell burst by him on the inside and Moens had no answer, Snell winning gold, Moens silver, and Kerr bronze. Though he was an unknown, within a few years, Snell would be considered the greatest middle distance runner in the world, and one of the greatest ever.

183Peter SnellNZL1:48.1 (1 h3)1:48.6 (2 h4)1:47.2 (1 h2)1:46.3 (1)GoldOR
2237Roger MoensBEL1:50.6 (1 h6)1:48.5 (1 h4)1:47.4 (2 h2)1:46.5 (2)Silver
3100George KerrWIF1:50.9 (1 h7)1:49.4 (1 h3)1:47.1 (1 h1)1:47.1 (3)Bronze
4270Paul SchmidtGER1:50.8 (1 h8)1:51.2 (1 h2)1:47.8 (3 h2)1:47.6 (4)
5222Christian WägliSUI1:48.8 (2 h3)1:48.0 (2 h1)1:47.3 (2 h1)1:48.1 (5)
6271Manfred MatuschewskiGER1:51.0 (3 h4)1:48.1 (3 h1)1:47.4 (3 h1)1:52.0 (6)
4 h1 r3/4269Jörg BalkeGER1:53.6 (2 h5)1:48.8 (3 h4)1:47.5 (4 h1)
4 h2 r3/4405Jerry SiebertUSA1:48.9 (2 h2)1:51.3 (3 h2)1:48.0 (4 h2)
5 h1 r3/410Tony BlueAUS1:50.7 (1 h4)1:49.9 (3 h3)1:47.8 (5 h1)
5 h2 r3/4554Abram KryvosheievURS1:53.4 (1 h5)1:51.2 (2 h2)1:48.1 (5 h2)
6 h1 r3/4404Tom MurphyUSA1:52.1 (1 h9)1:48.0 (1 h1)1:48.2 (6 h1)
6 h2 r3/4403Ernie CunliffeUSA1:48.8 (3 h3)1:49.7 (2 h3)1:50.8 (6 h2)
4 h1 r2/4260Donal SmithNZL1:51.7 (1 h1)1:48.4 (4 h1)
4 h2 r2/4520Zbigniew MakomaskiPOL1:52.5 (3 h1)1:51.6 (4 h2)
4 h3 r2/4630John WenkGBR1:54.1 (3 h5)1:50.0 (4 h3)
4 h4 r2/489Rudolf KlabanAUT1:50.8 (2 h8)1:50.2 (4 h4)
5 h1 r2/458Terry SullivanZIM1:51.1 (2 h7)1:49.9 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/4169Ralph GomesGUY1:52.9 (2 h9)1:52.3 (5 h2)
5 h3 r2/4552Valery BulyshevURS1:51.7 (2 h1)1:50.6 (5 h3)
5 h4 r2/4628Tom FarrellGBR1:48.9 (1 h2)1:50.7 (5 h4)
6 h2 r2/414Lajos KovácsHUN1:51.3 (3 h6)1:52.4 (6 h2)
6 h3 r2/4461Ronnie DelanyIRL1:51.0 (3 h8)1:51.1 (6 h3)
6 h4 r2/4138Ergas LepsCAN1:50.8 (2 h4)1:52.0 (6 h4)
7 h2 r2/4346Per KnutsSWE1:51.2 (2 h6)1:52.8 (7 h2)
7 h4 r2/4661Ekrem KoçakTUR1:59.0 (3 h9)1:52.5 (7 h4)
3 h2 r1/4236Jos LambrechtsBEL– (DNS h1)
3 h7 r1/4195Péter ParschHUN– (DNS h1)
4 h1 r1/4629Brian HewsonGBR1:54.6 (4 h1)
4 h2 r1/4469Pierre-Yvon LenoirFRA1:49.3 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/4193István RózsavölgyiHUN1:49.4 (4 h3)
4 h4 r1/4553Vasily SavinkovURS1:51.4 (4 h4)
4 h5 r1/456Norbert HaupertLUX1:54.7 (4 h5)
4 h6 r1/4521Stefan LewandowskiPOL1:51.6 (4 h6)
4 h7 r1/4315Borut IngoličYUG1:51.4 (4 h7)
4 h8 r1/4137Joe MullinsCAN1:51.3 (4 h8)
4 h9 r1/4139Sig OhlemannCAN2:07.4 (4 h9)
5 h1 r1/4672Yair PantilatISR1:54.7 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/4149Jan ŠlégrTCH1:50.1 (5 h2)
5 h4 r1/4328Konstantinos MoragiemosGRE1:54.3 (5 h4)
5 h5 r1/4131Frederick OwusuGHA1:55.2 (5 h5)
5 h6 r1/4368Svavar MarkússonISL1:52.7 (5 h6)
5 h7 r1/4496Pertti ÅlanderFIN1:52.0 (5 h7)
5 h8 r1/4600Gianfranco BaraldiITA1:52.0 (5 h8)
6 h1 r1/447George JohnsonLBR1:55.9 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/480Moussa SaidETH1:50.3 (6 h2)
6 h4 r1/4183Ahmed LazregMAR1:55.7 (6 h4)
6 h5 r1/4372Egon OehriLIE2:00.3 (6 h5)
6 h6 r1/470Abdeslem DargouthTUN1:54.7 (6 h6)
6 h7 r1/4522Zbigniew OrywałPOL1:55.8 (6 h7)
6 h8 r1/4452Julio GómezESP1:53.7 (6 h8)
7 h8 r1/465Somsak Thonf Ar-RamTHA1:57.1 (7 h8)
DNS678A. Nur FarahSOM– (DNS h7)
DNS254Julian BrownBAH– (DNS h9)
DNS34Wim EsajasSUR– (DNS h9)
DNS4Abdul Ghafar GhafooriAFG– (DNS h3)
DNS249Josué DelgadoPUR– (DNS h3)

Round One (31 August 1960 — 11:00)

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

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Donal SmithNZL1:51.71:51.86Q1
21Valery BulyshevURS1:51.71:51.83Q2
36Zbigniew MakomaskiPOL1:52.51:52.70Q
42Brian HewsonGBR1:54.61:54.73
54Yair PantilatISR1:54.71:54.86
63George JohnsonLBR1:55.91:56.04
DNS236Jos LambrechtsBEL
DNS195Péter ParschHUN

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Tom FarrellGBR1:48.91:49.05Q
25Jerry SiebertUSA1:48.91:49.08Q
34Jos LambrechtsBEL1:49.11:49.24Q
46Pierre-Yvon LenoirFRA1:49.31:49.41
51Jan ŠlégrTCH1:50.11:50.23
62Moussa SaidETH1:50.31:50.49

Heat Three

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Peter SnellNZL1:48.11:48.22Q
24Christian WägliSUI1:48.81:48.88Q
32Ernie CunliffeUSA1:48.81:48.95Q
46István RózsavölgyiHUN1:49.41:49.51
DNS1Abdul Ghafar GhafooriAFG
DNS5Josué DelgadoPUR

Heat Four

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14Tony BlueAUS1:50.71:50.82Q
25Ergas LepsCAN1:50.81:50.93Q
31Manfred MatuschewskiGER1:51.01:51.17Q
42Vasily SavinkovURS1:51.41:51.49
56Konstantinos MoragiemosGRE1:54.31:54.60
63Ahmed LazregMAR1:55.71:55.91

Heat Five

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Abram KryvosheievURS1:53.41:53.49Q
26Jörg BalkeGER1:53.61:53.72Q
32John WenkGBR1:54.11:54.27Q
41Norbert HaupertLUX1:54.71:54.83
54Frederick OwusuGHA1:55.21:55.41
63Egon OehriLIE2:00.32:00.49

Heat Six

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Roger MoensBEL1:50.61:50.73Q
24Per KnutsSWE1:51.21:51.36Q
35Lajos KovácsHUN1:51.31:51.45Q
46Stefan LewandowskiPOL1:51.61:51.75
51Svavar MarkússonISL1:52.71:52.88
62Abdeslem DargouthTUN1:54.71:54.87

Heat Seven

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15George KerrWIF1:50.91:51.11Q
22Terry SullivanZIM1:51.11:51.26Q
31Péter ParschHUN1:51.21:51.34Q
46Borut IngoličYUG1:51.41:51.51
57Pertti ÅlanderFIN1:52.01:52.20
63Zbigniew OrywałPOL1:55.81:55.89
DNS4A. Nur FarahSOM

Heat Eight

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Paul SchmidtGER1:50.81:50.97Q3
23Rudolf KlabanAUT1:50.81:50.96Q4
37Ronnie DelanyIRL1:51.01:51.19Q
41Joe MullinsCAN1:51.31:51.46
54Gianfranco BaraldiITA1:52.01:52.15
66Julio GómezESP1:53.71:53.90
72Somsak Thonf Ar-RamTHA1:57.11:57.24

Heat Nine

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
16Tom MurphyUSA1:52.11:52.30Q
22Ralph GomesGUY1:52.91:53.06Q
35Ekrem KoçakTUR1:59.01:59.12Q
44Sig OhlemannCAN2:07.4
DNS1Julian BrownBAH
DNS3Wim EsajasSUR

Quarter-Finals (31 August 1960 — 16:35)

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

Heat One

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1404Tom MurphyUSA1:48.01:48.12Q
2222Christian WägliSUI1:48.01:48.15Q
3271Manfred MatuschewskiGER1:48.11:48.24Q
4260Donal SmithNZL1:48.41:48.52
558Terry SullivanZIM1:49.91:50.01

Heat Two

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1270Paul SchmidtGER1:51.21:51.38Q
2554Abram KryvosheievURS1:51.21:51.40Q
3405Jerry SiebertUSA1:51.31:51.53Q
4520Zbigniew MakomaskiPOL1:51.61:51.72
5169Ralph GomesGUY1:52.31:52.47
614Lajos KovácsHUN1:52.41:52.55
7346Per KnutsSWE1:52.81:52.91

Heat Three

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1100George KerrWIF1:49.41:49.58Q
2403Ernie CunliffeUSA1:49.71:49.83Q
310Tony BlueAUS1:49.91:50.05Q
4630John WenkGBR1:50.01:50.13
5552Valery BulyshevURS1:50.61:50.74
6461Ronnie DelanyIRL1:51.11:51.42

Heat Four

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1237Roger MoensBEL1:48.51:48.69Q
283Peter SnellNZL1:48.61:48.84Q
3269Jörg BalkeGER1:48.81:48.98Q
489Rudolf KlabanAUT1:50.21:50.32
5628Tom FarrellGBR1:50.71:50.84
6138Ergas LepsCAN1:52.01:52.13
7661Ekrem KoçakTUR1:52.51:52.66

Semi-Finals (1 September 1960 — 16:40)

Top three in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14George KerrWIF1:47.11:47.26QOR
22Christian WägliSUI1:47.31:47.40Q
33Manfred MatuschewskiGER1:47.41:47.54Q
41Jörg BalkeGER1:47.51:47.63
55Tony BlueAUS1:47.81:47.97
66Tom MurphyUSA1:48.21:48.29

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Peter SnellNZL1:47.21:47.34Q
25Roger MoensBEL1:47.41:47.49Q
34Paul SchmidtGER1:47.81:47.95Q
42Jerry SiebertUSA1:48.01:48.20
56Abram KryvosheievURS1:48.11:48.25
61Ernie CunliffeUSA1:50.81:50.92

Final (2 September 1960 — 16:45)

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
183Peter SnellNZL1:46.31:46.48OR
2237Roger MoensBEL1:46.51:46.55
3100George KerrWIF1:47.11:47.25
4270Paul SchmidtGER1:47.61:47.82
5222Christian WägliSUI1:48.11:48.19
6271Manfred MatuschewskiGER1:52.01:52.21


200 m25.4Christian Wägli
400 m51.9Christian Wägli
600 m1:19.1Christian Wägli