| Event type

1,500 metres, Men

Date30 July – 1 August 1980
LocationBolshaya arena, Tsentralny stadion imeni V.I. Lenina, Moskva
Participants40 from 29 countries

By 1980, the two top milers in the world were both from Great Britain – Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe. Ovett had won the 1978 European Championship. Coe came to the fore in the summer of 1979 when he broke the world records for 800 metres, 1,500 metres, and the mile. At the Dubai Golden Mile on 17 July, he ran 3:48.95 to break John Walker’s mile record. A few weeks later, at the Weltklasse Meet in Zürich, he ran 3:32.03 to better Filbert Bayi’s record for 1,500 metres. But Ovett had been ranked #1 in the world in 1977-78 and he fought back, posting times of 3:49.57 and 3:32.11. Then on 21 May 1980, at the Crystal Palace in London, Ovett broke Coe’s world mile record, running 3:48.8. And in early June, at Bislett Stadium in Oslo, he ran 3:32.09 for 1,500 metres. In that era both his mark and Coe’s world record of 3:32.03 were rounded up to 3:32.1 and Ovett had another world record.

The Moskva Olympics were sorely affected by the American-led boycott, and two runners who were missed were John Walker, the defending champion, and American Steve Scott. But the British Olympic Association defied their government and Great Britain entered a team, allowing both Coe and Ovett to compete. Earlier in the Olympics, they both ran the 800, where Coe was considered the stronger runner because of his greater speed. But Ovett won that race in a slight upset, Coe getting the silver medal. In the 1,500 final, the pace was absurdly slow, passing 800 in 2:04.9. The East German Jürgen Straub then began a sustained kick, trying to draw out the field. It played into Coe’s hands, who could maintain high speed longer than anyone. He pulled up to Straub on the final curve and passed him at the start of the homestretch, holding him off in the straight, with Ovett finishing third.

1254Seb CoeGBR3:40.1 (2 h3)3:39.4 (1 h2)3:38.4 (1)Gold
2338Jürgen StraubGDR3:37.0 (2 h4)3:39.4 (2 h2)3:38.8 (2)Silver
3279Steve OvettGBR3:36.8 (1 h4)3:43.1 (1 h1)3:39.0 (3)Bronze
4296Andreas BusseGDR3:44.3 (1 h2)3:43.5 (3 h1)3:40.2 (4)
5426Vittorio FontanellaITA3:40.1 (1 h3)3:40.1 (4 h2)3:40.4 (5)
6783Jozef PlachýTCH3:44.4 (3 h2)3:40.4 (5 h2)3:40.7 (6)
7243José MarajoFRA3:43.9 (1 h1)3:39.6 (3 h2)3:41.5 (7)
8257Steve CramGBR3:44.1 (4 h1)3:43.6 (4 h1)3:42.0 (8)
9767Dragan ZdravkovićYUG3:44.0 (3 h1)3:43.4 (2 h1)3:43.1 (9)
5 h1 r2/3717Vladimir MalozemlinURS3:38.7 (4 h4)3:43.6 (5 h1)
6 h1 r2/3207Antti LoikkanenFIN3:40.5 (3 h3)3:44.0 (6 h1)
6 h2 r2/329Robert NemethAUT3:38.3 (3 h4)3:40.8 (6 h2)
7 h1 r2/3559João CamposPOR3:41.3 (5 h3)3:44.4 (7 h1)
7 h2 r2/3739Vitaly TishchenkoURS3:44.4 (2 h2)3:41.5 (7 h2)
8 h1 r2/3237Alex GonzalezFRA3:44.6 (4 h2)3:44.7 (8 h1)
8 h2 r2/3152José Luis GonzálezESP3:40.9 (4 h3)3:42.6 (8 h2)
9 h1 r2/32Mehdi AidetALG3:43.9 (2 h1)3:44.9 (9 h1)
9 h2 r2/3557Mirosław ŻerkowskiPOL3:39.2 (5 h4)3:48.2 (9 h2)
5 h1 r1/3746Pavel YakovlevURS3:44.2 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/3610Pierre DélèzeSUI3:44.8 (5 h2)
6 h1 r1/3143José Manuel AbascalESP3:44.7 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/3193Haile ZeruETH3:45.7 (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/3405Ray FlynnIRL3:42.0 (6 h3)
6 h4 r1/3167Kassa BalchaETH3:43.1 (6 h4)
7 h1 r1/3478Stephen MolapoLES3:55.5 (7 h1)
7 h2 r1/38Abderrahmane MorceliALG3:46.0 (7 h2)
7 h3 r1/3169Nigusse BekeleETH3:45.8 (7 h3)
7 h4 r1/3416Jón DiðrikssonISL3:44.4 (7 h4)
8 h1 r1/3455Khaled KhalifaKUW3:57.6 (8 h1)
8 h2 r1/3396Sant KumarIND3:55.6 (8 h2)
8 h3 r1/3774Archfell MusangoZAM3:53.7 (8 h3)
8 h4 r1/36Derradji HarekALG3:45.3 (8 h4)
9 h1 r1/3503Vicente SantosMOZ3:58.7 (9 h1)
9 h2 r1/369Ishmael MhaladiBOT3:59.1 (9 h2)
9 h3 r1/3485Tisbite RakotoarisoaMAD3:55.9 (9 h3)
9 h4 r1/3473Marzouk MabroukLBA3:54.3 (9 h4)
10 h2 r1/3593George BrancheSLE4:03.9 (10 h2)
10 h3 r1/3752Lê Quang KhảiVIE4:06.8 (10 h3)
10 h4 r1/3638Mohamed MakhloufSYR4:00.3 (10 h4)
11 h2 r1/360Damien DegboeBEN4:15.3 (11 h2)
DNS642Filbert BayiTAN– (DNS h1)

Round One (30 July 1980 — 17:10)

Top four in each heat and next two fastest advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1243José MarajoFRA3:43.93:43.85Q
22Mehdi AidetALG3:43.93:43.86Q
3767Dragan ZdravkovićYUG3:44.03:43.99Q
4257Steve CramGBR3:44.13:44.06Q
5746Pavel YakovlevURS3:44.23:44.19
6143José Manuel AbascalESP3:44.73:44.65
7478Stephen MolapoLES3:55.53:55.50
8455Khaled KhalifaKUW3:57.63:57.55
9503Vicente SantosMOZ3:58.73:58.67
DNS642Filbert BayiTAN


400 m1:02.0José Marajo
800 m2:05.5Steve Cram
1200 m3:04.5Mehdi Aidet

Heat Two

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1296Andreas BusseGDR3:44.33:44.27Q
2739Vitaly TishchenkoURS3:44.43:44.39Q
3783Jozef PlachýTCH3:44.43:44.39Q
4237Alex GonzalezFRA3:44.63:44.42Q
5610Pierre DélèzeSUI3:44.83:44.72
6193Haile ZeruETH3:45.73:45.68
78Abderrahmane MorceliALG3:46.03:45.96
8396Sant KumarIND3:55.63:55.60
969Ishmael MhaladiBOT3:59.13:59.04
10593George BrancheSLE4:03.94:03.84
1160Damien DegboeBEN4:15.3


400 m1:01.8Pierre Délèze
800 m2:04.8Pierre Délèze
1200 m3:04.6Pierre Délèze

Heat Three

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1426Vittorio FontanellaITA3:40.13:40.03Q
2254Seb CoeGBR3:40.13:40.05Q
3207Antti LoikkanenFIN3:40.53:40.49Q
4152José Luis GonzálezESP3:40.93:40.85Q
5559João CamposPOR3:41.33:41.25q
6405Ray FlynnIRL3:42.03:41.92
7169Nigusse BekeleETH3:45.83:45.79
8774Archfell MusangoZAM3:53.73:53.62
9485Tisbite RakotoarisoaMAD3:55.93:55.81
10752Lê Quang KhảiVIE4:06.84:06.77


400 m1:00.9Lê Quang Khải
800 m1:59.4Seb Coe
1200 m2:59.8Seb Coe

Heat Four

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1279Steve OvettGBR3:36.83:36.80Q
2338Jürgen StraubGDR3:37.03:36.95Q
329Robert NemethAUT3:38.33:38.30Q
4717Vladimir MalozemlinURS3:38.73:38.68Q
5557Mirosław ŻerkowskiPOL3:39.23:39.19q
6167Kassa BalchaETH3:43.13:43.04
7416Jón DiðrikssonISL3:44.43:44.34
86Derradji HarekALG3:45.33:45.29
9473Marzouk MabroukLBA3:54.33:54.21
10638Mohamed MakhloufSYR4:00.34:00.24


400 m55.5Marzouk Mabrouk
800 m1:56.6Marzouk Mabrouk
1200 m2:55.6Jürgen Straub

Semi-Finals (31 July 1980 — 21:00)

Top four in each heat and next fastest advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1279Steve OvettGBR3:43.13:43.09Q
2767Dragan ZdravkovićYUG3:43.43:43.39Q
3296Andreas BusseGDR3:43.53:43.47Q
4257Steve CramGBR3:43.63:43.55Q
5717Vladimir MalozemlinURS3:43.63:43.56
6207Antti LoikkanenFIN3:44.03:43.98
7559João CamposPOR3:44.43:44.39
8237Alex GonzalezFRA3:44.73:44.64
92Mehdi AidetALG3:44.93:44.85


400 m1:05.0Dragan Zdravković
800 m2:06.0Vladimir Malozemlin
1200 m3:02.9Vladimir Malozemlin

Heat Two

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1254Seb CoeGBR3:39.43:39.34Q
2338Jürgen StraubGDR3:39.43:39.38Q
3243José MarajoFRA3:39.63:39.56Q
4426Vittorio FontanellaITA3:40.13:40.07Q
5783Jozef PlachýTCH3:40.43:40.37q
629Robert NemethAUT3:40.83:40.72
7739Vitaly TishchenkoURS3:41.53:41.42
8152José Luis GonzálezESP3:42.63:42.55
9557Mirosław ŻerkowskiPOL3:48.23:48.15


400 m1:00.0
800 m2:02.3Jürgen Straub
1200 m2:58.8Robert Nemeth

Final (1 August 1980 — 17:30)

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1254Seb CoeGBR3:38.43:38.40
2338Jürgen StraubGDR3:38.83:38.80
3279Steve OvettGBR3:39.03:38.99
4296Andreas BusseGDR3:40.23:40.17
5426Vittorio FontanellaITA3:40.43:40.37
6783Jozef PlachýTCH3:40.73:40.66
7243José MarajoFRA3:41.53:41.48
8257Steve CramGBR3:42.03:41.98
9767Dragan ZdravkovićYUG3:43.13:43.05


400 m1:01.6Jürgen Straub
800 m2:04.9
1200 m2:59.1Jürgen Straub