Athletics at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's 3200 metres steeplechase

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Men's 3200 metre steeplechase
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
London 1908 Steeplechase.jpg
The water jump
Venue White City Stadium
Dates July 17 (semifinals)
July 18 (final)
Competitors 24 from 6 nations
1st, gold medalist(s) Arthur Russell  Great Britain
2nd, silver medalist(s) Archie Robertson  Great Britain
3rd, bronze medalist(s) John Eisele  United States

The men's 3,200 metres steeplechase was held for the only time at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. The competition was held on July 17, 1908 and July 18, 1908. The races were held on a track of 536.45 metres=​13 mile in circumference. There were six heats of the first round, with the winners of those heats competing in the final.

24 runners from 6 nations competed; eleven from Great Britain, eight from the United States, two from Canada, two from France, one from Hungary, and one from Italy.[1]


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1908 Summer Olympics.

World Record none
Olympic Record 7:34.4(*) Canada George Orton Paris (FRA) July 15, 1900
7:39.6(**) United States James Lightbody St. Louis (USA) August 29, 1904

(*) The distance of this race was 2500 metres and the track was 500 metres in circumference.

(**) The distance of this race was 2590 metres and the track was 536.45 metres=​13 mile in circumference.


First round[edit]

All first round heats were held on Friday, July 17, 1908.

Heat 1

Russell won easily, with Cartasegna being the only other competitor to finish. Downing was disqualified for incorrectly clearing the first water jump, Ragueneau retired on the second lap, and Carr injured his ankle.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Arthur Russell  Great Britain 10:56.2
2 Massimo Cartasegna  Italy 11:15.0
Gaston Ragueneau  France DNF
Edward Carr  United States DNF
Thomas Downing  Great Britain DQ

Heat 2

Eisele was the only one to finish. Fleurac led early, but was caught before the water jump and pulled up lame, while English fell.

Place Name Nation Time
1 John Eisele  United States 11:13.6
Antal Lovas  Hungary DNF
Louis de Fleurac  France DNF
Frank Buckley  Great Britain DNF
Joseph English  Great Britain DNF

Heat 3

Barker pulled up lame, leaving Galbraith with the win.

Place Name Nation Time
1 William Galbraith  Canada 11:12.4
Henry Barker  Great Britain DNF

Heat 4

With Yorke being disqualified for obstruction and Bonhag injured, the race was between Robertson and Dull. Dull led at first, but Robertson passed him and won by two hundred yards.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Archie Robertson  Great Britain 11:10.0
2 Gayle Dull  United States (11:50.0)
George Bonhag  United States DNF
Richard Yorke  Great Britain DQ

Heat 5

The Americans had little chance of catching up with Holdaway and Kinchin; Holdaway was a hundred yards ahead at the finish.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Guy Holdaway  Great Britain 11:18.8
2 Joseph Kinchin  Great Britain (11:44.0)
3 Roland Spitzer  United States unknown
4 Charles Hall  United States unknown

Heat 6

Fitzgerald fell and Grantham pulled up lame. Sewell and Lightbody competed right up to the finish, and Sewell pulled away at the end to win a tight race by less than ten yards.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Harry Sewell  Great Britain 11:30.2
2 James Lightbody  United States 11:41.0
John E. Fitzgerald  Canada DNF
Billy Grantham  Great Britain DNF


The final was held on Saturday, July 18, 1908.

Arthur Russell finishing first in front of Archie Robertson.

Holdaway was the first to lead, but did not do so for long. Galbraith and Russell were the leaders for most of the first half of the race, until Galbraith fell back and Eisele joined Russell at the front. After the bell, Robertson passed Eisele and nearly caught Russell, trailing by only two yards when the two crossed the finish line.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Arthur Russell  Great Britain 10:47.8
2 Archie Robertson  Great Britain 10:48.4
3 John Eisele  United States 11:00.8
4 Guy Holdaway  Great Britain (11:26.0)
5 Harry Sewell  Great Britain unknown
6 William Galbraith  Canada unknown


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1908 London: Men's 3,200 metres Steeplechase". Retrieved 19 November 2017. 


  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report. London: British Olympic Association. 
  • De Wael, Herman (2001). "Athletics 1908". Herman's Full Olympians. Retrieved March 23, 2008. 
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved March 23, 2008.