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1948 Olympic Games London, Great Britain - Men's 1500 m

 

 

Host City: London, Great Britain Format: Top three in each heat advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 4, 1948
Date Finished: August 6, 1948
(Competitors: 36; Countries: 22; Finalists: 12)
Venue(s): Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
Overview by IAAF 1948_olympic_stadium.jpg 
Strand was hot favourite to win. Despite losing to Bergkvist in the Swedish Trials, the nervy world record holder appeared unbeatable. Bergkvist was the fastest in the heats, but quick times were out of the question for the final, run in a thunderstorm on an already sludgelike track. Hansenne had a brainstorm in the first lap running 58.3, and opening up a 6m gap on the field headed by Gehrmann. The Frenchman came back to the field in the second lap, and after reaching 800m in 2:02.6 was passed shortly after by the three Swedes, led by Eriksson. By the 1200m mark (3:05.0) Eriksson had only Strand for company, but unlike previous encounters he was able to hold off the European Champion, possibly helped by a stronger physique more suited to the difficult London conditions. Strand only held on to silver after bumping Slijkhuis as the Dutchman zoomed through on the inside in the last 50m. The official time of 3:50.4 for both men was clearly incorrect when measured against the photo-finish equipment.
Summary by Sports-reference.com
The top milers during World War II were Arne Andersson and Gunder Hägg, both Swedish, but neither was eligible for the 1948 Olympics, having been declared professionals for accepting expense money. The early favorite at London was another Swede, Lennart Strand, who had led the world list in 1947 over both the mile and 1,500 metres, and had been European Champion in 1946. Two of the other favorites were also Swedish, Henry Eriksson and Gösta Bergkvist, who had been 2nd and 3rd in the 1947 1,500 metre list. Eriksson had also finished second at the 1946 European Championships. The Swedes were looking to sweep the medals in the 1,500, despite the absence of Andersson and Hägg.
Started in a cold rain, the final saw Belgium’s Marcel Hansenne take off at a suicidal pace, running 58.3 for the first lap and opening up a big lead. He was caught by the three Swedes shortly after finishing the second lap in the lead. Eriksson took the lead at 1,000 metres, with Strand on his heels. Together they were alone in the lead with 300 metres remaining. Despite his stronger sprint, Strand could never close the gap on Eriksson, although they ran shoulder-to-shoulder until 50 metres from the tape. Eriksson held on to win comfortably in the final straight. Strand barely held off the Dutchman, Wim Slijkhuis, who closed very quickly, passing Bergkvist on the final straight, and preventing a Swedish sweep. Slijkhuis attempted to pass Strand on the inside near the finish but Strand pulled over and bumped Slijkhuis, knocking him briefly off the track.
Although we are quite certain of the above, and of the first six finishers, places 7-12 in the final have been disputed for years and numerous orders of the runners’ finishes have been published. Here are some of the versions that are seen. Volker Kluge, in his monumental series, Olympische Sommerspiele: Die Chronik II, has as follows: 7) Sándor Garay, 8) Erik Jørgensen, 9) Josy Barthel, 10) Don Gehrmann, 11) Marcel Hansenne, 12) Denis Johansson. Ekkehard zur Megede in The Olympic Century has the following: 7) Don Gehrmann, 8) Erik Jørgensen, 9) Denis Johansson, 10) Josy Barthel, 11) Marcel Hansenne, 12) Sándor Garay. Zur Megede appears to have used material from Bob Sparks, late President of the ATFS, who looked at photofinishes of the race. In 1948 Track & Field News published the following results: 7) Erik Jørgensen, 8) Don Gehrmann, 9) Denis Johansson, 10) Josy Barthel, 11) Marcel Hansenne, 12) Sándor Garay. The results we have used are based on information from Richard Hymans, British athletics statistical expert, who has also looked at photos and films of the race, and whose results differ slightly from all the above. We have supplemented this by various descriptions from multiple national sources, including a Swedish radio report of the finish of the race, which definitively gives Garay as placing seventh.
 
 
Results
1500 m Men Final 6 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.50.0 Henry Eriksson Sweden SWE 28 3.49.8 h
2 3.50.4 Lennart Strand Sweden SWE 27 at 0.40
3 3.50.4 Wim Slijkhuis Netherlands NED 25 at 0.48
4 3.51.2 Václav Čevona Czechoslovakia TCH 26 at 1.37
5 3.52.2 Gösta Bergkvist Sweden SWE 28 at 2.05
6 3.52.6 Bill Nankeville Great Britain GBR 23 at 2.51
7 3.54.4 Sándor Garay Hungary HUN 28 at 4.63
8 3.54.5 Don Gehrmann United States USA 20 at 4.65
9 3.56.1 Erik Jørgensen Denmark DEN 28 at 6.28
10 3.56.9 Josy Barthel Luxembourg LUX 21 at 7.14
11 4.02.0 Marcel Hansenne France FRA 31
12 Denis Johansson Finland FIN 20
1500 m Men Round One Heat One 4 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.54.3 Q Lennart Strand Sweden SWE 27 3.54.2 h
2 3.54.2 Q Erik Jørgensen Denmark DEN 28
3 3.54.8 Q Don Gehrmann United States USA 20
4 3.55.2 Frits de Ruijter Netherlands NED 31
5 3.58.0 Olavi Luoto Finland FIN 21
6 3.59.8 Henri Klein France FRA 28
7 4.00.0 Cahit Önel Turkey TUR 20 4.00.0est / at 0.20
8 4.00.5 John Joe Barry Ireland IRL 22 4.00.5est / at 0.70
9 4.16.2 Cliff Salmond Canada CAN 20 4.16.2est
AC Antero Mongrut Peru PER
1500 m Men Round One Heat Two 4 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.52.8 Q Wim Slijkhuis Netherlands NED 25 3.52.4 h
2 3.53.0 Q Václav Čevona Czechoslovakia TCH 26
3 3.54.0 Q Denis Johansson Finland FIN 20
4 3.54.4 Jack Hutchins Canada CAN 22
5 3.54.8 Doug Wilson Great Britain GBR 28
6 4.00.2 Clem Eischen United States USA 21
7 Vasilios Mavroidis Greece GRE 21
8 4.03.7 Juan Adarraga Spain ESP 24 4.03.7est
AC Wilfred Tull Trinidad and Tobago TTO 30
1500 m Men Round One Heat Three 4 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.53.8 Q Henry Eriksson Sweden SWE 28 3.53.8 h
2 3.55.8 Q Bill Nankeville Great Britain GBR 23
3 3.56.4 Q Josy Barthel Luxembourg LUX 21
4 3.57.6 Jean Vernier France FRA 25
5 4.01.6 Melchor Palmeiro Argentina ARG
6 4.03.2 Óskar Jónsson Iceland ISL 23
7 Rıza Maksut İşman Turkey TUR 34
AC DNF Bill Parnell Canada CAN 20
1500 m Men Round One Heat Four 4 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 3.51.8 Q Gösta Bergkvist Sweden SWE 28 3.51.8 h
2 3.52.8 Q Marcel Hansenne France FRA 31
3 3.53.0 Q Sándor Garay Hungary HUN 28
4 3.53.2 Roland Sink United States USA 22
5 3.54.6 Kaare Vefling Norway NOR 28
6 3.55.8 Richard Morris Great Britain GBR 27
7 4.01.7 Ingvard Nielsen Denmark DEN 23 4.01.7est
8 4.03.0 Karl-Heinz Hubler Switzerland SUI 19 4.03.0est
9 Lee Yun-Seok South Korea KOR
 
 
 

 

 

 

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