| Event type

1,500 metres, Men

Date18 – 20 October 1968
LocationEstadio Olímpico Universitario, Ciudad de México
Participants54 from 37 countries
Olympic Record 3:35.6 WR / Herb Elliott AUS / 6 September 1960

Going into 1968 the heavy favorite was considered to be the American Jim Ryun. Ryun had run at the 1964 Olympics while only a high schooler, but since the Tokyo Olympics, he had broken the mile world record, running 3:51.3 on 17 July 1966 at Berkeley, California. Then at the 1967 AAU Meet, he bettered that with 3:51.1. In July 1967 a dual meet between the USA and the British Commonwealth was planned in Los Angeles. Running for the Commonwealth team was Kenya’s Kip Keino, who was felt to be the best miler in the world, after Ryun. At that event, Ryun and Keino raced over 1,500 metres and Ryun shattered the field and world record with 3:33.1, Keino over four seconds behind. Ryun was felt to be unstoppable.

But the Olympics were in 1968, not 1966 or 1967, and they were held at the altitude of Mexico City. Further, early in 1968, Ryun fell ill with a mild case of mononucleosis which affected his training. He trained in Flagstaff, Arizona to try to acclimatize to altitude but his weakness from the mono made that difficult. Still he made the US Olympic team, and he had been so dominant in 1966-67 that he was considered a slight favorite for the 1,500. Ryun and Keino both passed thru to the final, but another important runner was also there, Keino’s Kenyan teammate, Ben Jipcho. Not considered a medal contender, Jipcho and Keino planned a strategic race trying to weaken Ryun’s deadly kick. Jipcho passed 400 metres in a suicidal 56.0 with Keino on his shoulder in 56.6. Ryun ran in third but was well back and the pace was felt to be far too fast for the 2,200 metre altitude. But Keino pushed on, taking the lead at 800 in 1:55.3. Ryun was 30 metres back. Keino ran his third lap in 58.1, passing 1,200 in 2:53.4, faster than world record pace. Nobody could keep up that pace, it was felt, but Ryun and the field were now so far behind that the race was over. Keino held on to win in an Olympic record 3:34.91, considered unreachable in that thin air. Ryun did win the silver medal, 25 metres back.

1565Kip KeinoKEN3:46.9 (1 h1)3:51.4 (2 h2)3:34.9 (1)GoldOR
2300Jim RyunUSA3:45.7 (1 h4)3:51.2 (1 h2)3:37.8 (2)Silver
351Bodo TümmlerFRG3:51.5 (2 h1)3:53.6 (1 h1)3:39.0 (3)Bronze
436Harald NorpothFRG3:46.9 (3 h3)3:54.3 (5 h1)3:42.5 (4)
5433John WhettonGBR3:53.0 (3 h5)3:52.0 (3 h2)3:43.8 (5)
6349Jacky BoxbergerFRA3:47.5 (5 h3)3:53.9 (2 h1)3:46.6 (6)
7684Henryk SzordykowskiPOL3:59.3 (3 h2)3:54.2 (4 h1)3:46.6 (7)
8221Josef OdložilTCH3:47.4 (4 h3)3:52.5 (5 h2)3:48.6 (8)
9314Tom Von RudenUSA3:59.1 (1 h2)3:54.1 (3 h1)3:49.2 (9)
10564Ben JipchoKEN3:46.4 (1 h3)3:54.6 (6 h1)3:51.2 (10)
11132André DehertogheBEL3:59.3 (2 h2)3:52.5 (6 h2)3:53.6 (11)
12285Marty LiquoriUSA3:52.7 (1 h5)3:52.1 (4 h2)4:18.2 (12)
7 h1 r2/3495Franco AreseITA3:51.8 (5 h1)3:54.8 (7 h1)
7 h2 r2/3821Oleg RaykoURS3:46.8 (2 h3)3:52.7 (7 h2)
8 h1 r2/3646Arne KvalheimNOR3:47.4 (4 h4)3:55.3 (8 h1)
8 h2 r2/3213Ahmed IssaCHA3:53.1 (4 h5)3:53.2 (8 h2)
9 h1 r2/3390John BoulterGBR3:51.6 (3 h1)3:56.1 (9 h1)
9 h2 r2/3745Hansrüedi KnillSUI3:52.8 (2 h5)3:53.6 (9 h2)
10 h1 r2/3142Edgard SalvéBEL3:47.1 (3 h4)3:58.1 (10 h1)
10 h2 r2/3177Norm TreriseCAN3:47.6 (5 h4)3:57.2 (10 h2)
11 h1 r2/3836Mikhail ZhelobovskyURS3:53.2 (5 h5)3:59.0 (11 h1)
11 h2 r2/3362Claude NicolasFRA3:59.3 (4 h2)4:04.4 (11 h2)
12 h1 r2/3600Hamadi HaddouMAR3:47.0 (2 h4)4:01.6 (12 h1)
12 h2 r2/325Arnd KrügerFRG3:59.3 (5 h2)4:05.3 (12 h2)
AC h2 r2/3225Jorge GrosserCHI3:51.7 (4 h1)– (AC h2)
6 h1 r1/3160Dave BaileyCAN3:52.1 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/3505Renzo FinelliITA3:59.5 (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/3618José NeriMEX3:47.5 (6 h3)
6 h4 r1/3503Gianni Del BuonoITA3:48.4 (6 h4)
6 h5 r1/3325Matias HabtemichaelETH3:53.2 (6 h5)
7 h1 r1/3460Róbert HontiHUN3:54.9 (7 h1)
7 h2 r1/3723Ove BergSWE4:00.4 (7 h2)
7 h3 r1/3246Jorge GonzálezESP3:50.4 (7 h3)
7 h4 r1/3115Peter WatsonAUS3:55.4 (7 h4)
7 h5 r1/3728Anders GärderudSWE3:54.2 (7 h5)
8 h1 r1/3118Rudolf KlabanAUT3:59.1 (8 h1)
8 h2 r1/3229Tom HansenDEN4:01.4 (8 h2)
8 h3 r1/3442Ioannis VirvilisGRE3:55.5 (8 h3)
8 h4 r1/3387Maurice BennGBR3:56.4 (8 h4)
8 h5 r1/3Byron DyceJAM3:54.6 (8 h5)1
9 h1 r1/3448Julio QuevedoGUA4:03.1 (9 h1)
9 h2 r1/3593Ramasamy SubramaniamMAS4:06.4 (9 h2)
9 h3 r1/3580Xaver Frick, Jr.LIE4:15.3 (9 h3)
9 h4 r1/3342Pekka VasalaFIN4:08.5 (9 h4)
9 h5 r1/3673Jerzy MaluśkiPOL3:54.8 (9 h5)
10 h1 r1/3713Édouard SagnaSEN4:04.1 (10 h1)
10 h2 r1/3698Miguel NúñezDOM4:23.6 (10 h2)
10 h3 r1/3238Alfredo CubíasESA4:32.5 (10 h3)
10 h4 r1/3692Willie RíosPUR4:14.4 (10 h4)
10 h5 r1/3487Frank MurphyIRL3:54.8 (10 h5)
11 h1 r1/3849Emilio BarahonaHON4:56.0 (11 h1)
11 h4 r1/3148Jeff PayneBER4:18.9 (11 h4)
11 h5 r1/3143Rudi SimonBEL4:06.9 (11 h5)
12 h5 r1/3861Arturo CórdobaHON5:18.9 (12 h5)
DNS154Blagoi KostovBUL– (DNS h2)
DNS373Jean WadouxFRA– (DNS h3)
DNS98Guillermo CuelloARG– (DNS h4)

Round One (18 October 1968 — 11:00)

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

Heat One

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
18Kip KeinoKEN3:46.93:46.96Q
24Bodo TümmlerFRG3:51.53:51.59Q
31John BoulterGBR3:51.63:51.63Q
410Jorge GrosserCHI3:51.73:51.79Q
56Franco AreseITA3:51.83:51.86Q
67Dave BaileyCAN3:52.13:52.11
711Róbert HontiHUN3:54.93:54.95
89Rudolf KlabanAUT3:59.13:59.11
92Julio QuevedoGUA4:03.14:03.13
103Édouard SagnaSEN4:04.14:04.12
115Emilio BarahonaHON4:56.04:56.08


400 m1:06.0Franco Arese
800 m2:07.6Kip Keino
1200 m3:04.4Kip Keino

Heat Two

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
110Tom Von RudenUSA3:59.13:59.15Q
27André DehertogheBEL3:59.33:59.33Q
39Henryk SzordykowskiPOL3:59.33:59.34Q
41Claude NicolasFRA3:59.33:59.35Q
58Arnd KrügerFRG3:59.33:59.40Q
65Renzo FinelliITA3:59.53:59.51
711Ove BergSWE4:00.44:00.42
84Tom HansenDEN4:01.44:01.47
93Ramasamy SubramaniamMAS4:06.44:06.49
106Miguel NúñezDOM4:23.64:23.67
DNS2Blagoi KostovBUL


400 m1:06.5Henryk Szordykowski
800 m2:18.2Henryk Szordykowski
1200 m3:20.3Henryk Szordykowski

Heat Three

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Ben JipchoKEN3:46.43:46.51Q
211Oleg RaykoURS3:46.83:46.84Q
37Harald NorpothFRG3:46.93:47.00Q
48Josef OdložilTCH3:47.43:47.49Q
53Jacky BoxbergerFRA3:47.53:47.55Q
69José NeriMEX3:47.53:47.88
76Jorge GonzálezESP3:50.43:50.49
82Ioannis VirvilisGRE3:55.53:55.57
94Xaver Frick, Jr.LIE4:15.34:15.38
105Alfredo CubíasESA4:32.54:32.58
DNS10Jean WadouxFRA


400 m1:00.4Jacky Boxberger
800 m2:04.7Ben Jipcho
1200 m3:06.1Oleg Rayko

Heat Four

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
18Jim RyunUSA3:45.73:45.80Q
27Hamadi HaddouMAR3:47.03:47.01Q
312Edgard SalvéBEL3:47.13:47.17Q
49Arne KvalheimNOR3:47.43:47.50Q
510Norm TreriseCAN3:47.63:47.67Q
62Gianni Del BuonoITA3:48.43:48.41
711Peter WatsonAUS3:55.43:55.41
83Maurice BennGBR3:56.43:56.43
91Pekka VasalaFIN4:08.54:08.51
106Willie RíosPUR4:14.44:14.47
114Jeff PayneBER4:18.94:18.92
DNS5Guillermo CuelloARG


400 m1:01.3Gianni Del Buono
800 m2:02.1Gianni Del Buono
1200 m3:04.3Arne Kvalheim

Heat Five

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Marty LiquoriUSA3:52.73:52.78Q
27Hansrüedi KnillSUI3:52.83:52.87Q
35John WhettonGBR3:53.03:53.04Q
41Ahmed IssaCHA3:53.13:53.13Q
56Mikhail ZhelobovskyURS3:53.23:53.23Q
611Matias HabtemichaelETH3:53.23:53.27
79Anders GärderudSWE3:54.23:54.28
812Byron DyceJAM3:54.63:54.652
92Jerzy MaluśkiPOL3:54.83:54.83
1010Frank MurphyIRL3:54.83:54.85
118Rudi SimonBEL4:06.94:06.97
124Arturo CórdobaHON5:18.95:18.92


400 m1:04.9Matias Habtemichael
800 m2:11.7Matias Habtemichael
1200 m3:11.6Frank Murphy

Semi-Finals (19 October 1968 — 17:20)

Top six in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Bodo TümmlerFRG3:53.63:53.66Q
28Jacky BoxbergerFRA3:53.93:54.00Q
36Tom Von RudenUSA3:54.13:54.12Q
412Henryk SzordykowskiPOL3:54.23:54.24Q
51Harald NorpothFRG3:54.33:54.34Q
67Ben JipchoKEN3:54.63:54.69Q
72Franco AreseITA3:54.83:54.85
84Arne KvalheimNOR3:55.33:55.32
93John BoulterGBR3:56.13:56.13
109Edgard SalvéBEL3:58.13:58.16
1111Mikhail ZhelobovskyURS3:59.03:59.08
1210Hamadi HaddouMAR4:01.64:01.70


400 m1:07.6Mikhail Zhelobovsky
800 m2:14.9Mikhail Zhelobovsky
1200 m3:14.6Ben Jipcho

Heat Two

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
18Jim RyunUSA3:51.23:51.25Q
212Kip KeinoKEN3:51.43:51.50Q
35John WhettonGBR3:52.03:52.05Q
49Marty LiquoriUSA3:52.13:52.17Q
511Josef OdložilTCH3:52.53:52.53Q
67André DehertogheBEL3:52.53:52.57Q
76Oleg RaykoURS3:52.73:52.73
82Ahmed IssaCHA3:53.23:53.26
913Hansrüedi KnillSUI3:53.63:53.65
103Norm TreriseCAN3:57.23:57.30
1110Claude NicolasFRA4:04.44:04.47
124Arnd KrügerFRG4:05.34:05.40
AC1Jorge GrosserCHIDNF


400 m1:08.0Josef Odložil
800 m2:12.7Kip Keino
1200 m3:11.9Kip Keino

Final (20 October 1968 — 15:30)

PosOrdAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
110Kip KeinoKEN3:34.93:34.91OR
26Jim RyunUSA3:37.83:37.89
39Bodo TümmlerFRG3:39.03:39.08
48Harald NorpothFRG3:42.53:42.57
55John WhettonGBR3:43.83:43.90
61Jacky BoxbergerFRA3:46.63:46.65
711Henryk SzordykowskiPOL3:46.63:46.69
83Josef OdložilTCH3:48.63:48.69
97Tom Von RudenUSA3:49.23:49.27
102Ben JipchoKEN3:51.23:51.22
114André DehertogheBEL3:53.63:53.63
1212Marty LiquoriUSA4:18.24:18.22


400 m56.0Ben Jipcho
800 m1:55.3Kip Keino
1200 m2:53.4Kip Keino