Athletics at the 1912 Summer Olympics – Men's 1500 metres

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Men's 1500 metres
at the Games of the V Olympiad
1912 Athletics men's 1500 metre final2.JPG
The finish with Arnold Jackson setting a new Olympic record.
VenueStockholm Olympic Stadium
DatesJuly 9 (semifinals)
July 10 (final)
Competitors45 from 14 nations
1st, gold medalist(s) Arnold Jackson  Great Britain
2nd, silver medalist(s) Abel Kiviat  United States
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Norman Taber  United States
← 1908
1920 →

The men's 1500 metres was a track and field athletics event held as part of the athletics at the 1912 Summer Olympics programme. It was the fifth appearance of the event, which is one of 12 athletics events to have been held at every Summer Olympics. The competition was held on Tuesday, July 9, 1912 and on Wednesday, July 10, 1912.[1]

Forty-five runners from 14 nations competed, including the Olympic champion from 1908, Mel Sheppard.

Arnold Jackson won the final by 0.1 second, ahead of an American trio, who were strong favourites, in what was acclaimed at the time as "the greatest race ever run". Aged 21, he remains the youngest ever winner of this event. This was the last Olympics where "private entries" were allowed (i.e. not part of a country's officially selected team), and Jackson was one such.


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1912 Summer Olympics.

World Record 3:55.8 United States Abel Kiviat Cambridge, MA (USA) June 8, 1912
Olympic Record 4:03.4(**) United Kingdom Norman Hallows London (GBR) July 13, 1908
4:03.4(**) United States Mel Sheppard London (GBR) July 14, 1908

(**) This track was 536.45 metres=​13 mile in circumference.

Abel Kiviat finished his semifinal only 1 second off the Olympic record time of 4:03.4; he and all six other finalists whose times are known broke that mark in the final. Kiviat took second behind Arnold Jackson, who set the new record at 3:56.8.



All semi-finals were held on Tuesday, July 9, 1912.

Semifinal 1

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1  Mel Sheppard (USA) 4:27.6 QF
2  Louis Madeira (USA) 4:27.9 QF
3  Albert Hare (GBR) 4:39.4

Semifinal 2

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1  Norman Taber (USA) 4:25.5 QF
2  Philip Baker (GBR) 4:26.0 QF
3  Georg Amberger (GER) 4:27.0
4-5  Teofil Savniky (HUN)
 Rūdolfs Vītols (RUS)
 Dmitri Nazarov (RUS) Did not finish

Semifinal 3

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1  Abel Kiviat (USA) 4:04.4 QF
2  Henri Arnaud (FRA) 4:05.4 QF
3  Norman Patterson (USA) 4:05.5
4  John Tait (CAN)
5  Ferenc Forgács (HUN)
6-7  François Delloye (BEL)
 Jacob Pedersen (NOR)
 Edward Owen (GBR) Did not finish

Semifinal 4

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1  Arnold Jackson (GBR) 4:10.8 QF
2  John Paul Jones (USA) 4:12.4 QF
3  John Victor (RSA) 4:12.7
4  Lewis Anderson (USA)
5  Oscar Larsen (NOR)
6  Arnolds Indriksons (RUS)
7  Alfrēds Ruks (RUS)

Semifinal 5

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1  John Zander (SWE) 4:05.5 QF
2  Evert Björn (SWE) 4:07.2 QF
3  Herbert Putnam (USA) 4:07.6
4  Richard Yorke (GBR)
5  Georg Mickler (GER)
6  Aleksandr Elizarov (RUS)
7  Nikolay Kharkov (RUS)
 Charles Ruffell (GBR) Did not finish

Semifinal 6

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1  Erwin von Sigel (GER) 4:09.3 QF
2  Oscar Hedlund (USA) 4:10.8 QF
3  William Moore (GBR) 4:11.2
4  Nils Frykberg (SWE) 4:11.2
5-6  Frederick Hulford (GBR)
 Andrejs Krūkliņš (RUS)
 Guido Calvi (ITA) Did not finish

Semifinal 7

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1  Ernst Wide (SWE) 4:06.0 QF
2  Walter McClure (USA) 4:07.3 QF
3  Joe Cottrill (GBR)
4  Matti Harju (FIN)
5  Yevgeny Petrov (RUS)
 Vahram Papazian (TUR) Did not finish


The start of the final.

The final was held on Wednesday, July 10, 1912.

Place Athlete Time
1  Arnold Jackson (GBR) 3:56.8 OR
2  Abel Kiviat (USA) 3:56.9
3  Norman Taber (USA) 3:56.9
4  John Paul Jones (USA) 3:57.2
5  Ernst Wide (SWE) 3:57.6
6  Philip Baker (GBR) 4:01.0
7  John Zander (SWE) 4:02.0
8  Walter McClure (USA)
9-14  Henri Arnaud (FRA)
 Evert Björn (SWE)
 Oscar Hedlund (USA)
 Louis Madeira (USA)
 Mel Sheppard (USA)
 Erwin von Sigel (GER)


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1912 Stockholm Games: Men's 1500 metres". Retrieved 23 October 2017.


  • Bergvall, Erik (ed.) (1913). Adams-Ray, Edward (trans.). (ed.). The Official Report of the Olympic Games of Stockholm 1912. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 27 August 2006.