Roger Moens

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Roger Moens
Roger Moens (1957).jpg
Roger Moens (1957)
Born (1930-04-26) 26 April 1930 (age 84)
Erembodegem, Belgium
Nationality  Belgium
Occupation athlete
Known for 1960 Summer Olympics
Roger Moens
Medal record
Men's Athletics
Competitor for  Belgium
Men's Athletics
Silver 1960 Rome 800 metres

Roger Moens (born 26 April 1930)[1] is a former Belgian middle distance runner. At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome he won a silver medal.[2] He also was the person to break Rudolf Harbig's long-standing world record over 800 meters.[3]

Moens earned a degree in criminology. Later, he was employed by the Belgian judicial police. He also was a sports commentator for many years for BRT television.

On August 3, 1955, in the Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Moens improved Rudolf Harbig’s 16-year-old 800-meter world record of 1:46.6, running 1.45.7. The race was a titanic struggle with Norwegian Audun Boysen, who finished second just two-tenths of a second behind and also under the world record.

Moens' global record would stand for seven years, until it was improved in 1962 by New Zealander Peter Snell. As a Belgian record it stood for 20 years until broken in 1975 by Ivo Van Damme, who ran 1:45.31.

On August 8, 1956, Moens along with his teammates set a world record in the 4 x 800 meter relay with a time of 7.15.8. Yet he did not go to the Melbourne Olympic Games, which took place in November. In training at night on a tennis court, he ran into a pole, injured himself, and, as world record holder and Olympic favorite, was forced to withdraw from the Games.

At the Rome Olympic Games in 1960, Moens at the age of 30 felt confident about the 800 meters. Biding his time in the race, Moens followed the pack, waiting to unleash his final sprint in the straightaway. Coming off the final turn and into the straight, Moens moved strongly into the lead and appeared to have the race won. Nearing the finish he looked quickly to his right to deal with an attack from behind, but did not see that Snell, a complete unknown at the time, was passing on the left. Snell won by inches in 1:46.3 to Moens’ 1:46.5. Immediately after the finish Moens threw himself on the grass and stayed there with his head in his hands. Years later, when asked whether the final in Rome still haunted him, he said, "Ah, it makes no sense to look back."[4]

Belgian championships[edit]

Event Year
400 m 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957
800 m 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961

Personal records[edit]

Event Time Date Location
400 m 47.3 October 9, 1955 Sofia
800 m 1:45.7 (WR) August 3, 1955 Oslo
1500 m 3:41.4 June 19, 1960 Antwerp


  1. ^ "Wie is ? Roger Moens" (in Dutch). 30 April 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Danzig, Allison (3 September 1960). "AMERICANS SWEEP HURDLES MEDALS; Davis Keeps Title -- Boston Jumps 26 Feet 734 Inches -- Miss Rudolph Wins 100". The New York Times. p. 10. Retrieved 1 November 2010.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ UP (4 August 1955). "Moens Cuts 800-Meter Mark To 1:45.7 in Race With Boysen". The New York Times. p. 20. Retrieved 1 November 2010.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ The bulk of this entry is a translation from a Dutch entry in Wikipedia, which includes all references:

Preceded by
Germany Rudolf Harbig
Men's 800 metres World Record Holder
1955-08-03 – 1962-02-02
Succeeded by
New Zealand Peter Snell
Preceded by
Germany Rudolf Harbig
European Record Holder Men's 800m
3 August 1955 - 6 August 1966
Succeeded by
West Germany Franz-Josef Kemper