Athletics at the 1964 Summer Olympics – Men's 10,000 metres

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Men's 10,000 metres
at the Games of the XVIII Olympiad
BillyMills Crossing Finish Line 1964Olympics.jpg
Billy Mills crossing the finish line
(U.S. Marine Corps photo)
Venue Olympic Stadium
Dates 14 October
Competitors 29 from 17 nations
Gold medal    United States
Silver medal    Tunisia
Bronze medal    Australia
1960 1968
Athletics at the
1964 Summer Olympics
Athletics pictogram.svg
Track events
100 m   men   women
200 m men women
400 m men women
800 m men women
1500 m men
5000 m men
10,000 m men
80 m hurdles women
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men
3000 m
4×100 m relay men women
4×400 m relay men
Road events
Marathon men
20 km walk men
50 km walk men
Field events
Long jump men women
Triple jump men
High jump men women
Pole vault men
Shot put men women
Discus throw men women
Javelin throw men women
Hammer throw men
Combined events
Pentathlon women
Decathlon men

The men's 10,000 metres was the longest of the seven men's track races in the Athletics at the 1964 Summer Olympics program in Tokyo. It was held on 14 October. 29 athletes from 17 nations entered, with 6 more not starting the event. The event was held as a single heat.



World record holder Ron Clarke set the tone of the race. His tactic of surging every other lap appeared to be working. Halfway through the race, only five runners were still with Clarke: Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia, Barry Magee of New Zealand, Kokichi Tsuburaya of Japan, and Mills. Magee and Tsuburaya, the local favorite, lost contact first, then Wolde. With two laps to go, only two runners were still with Clarke. On paper, it seemed to be Clarke's race. He had run a world record time of 28:15.6 while neither Gammoudi nor Mills had ever run under 29 minutes.

Mills and Clarke were running together with Gammoudi right behind as they entered the final lap. They were lapping other runners and, down the backstretch, Clarke was boxed in. He pushed Mills once, then again. Then Gammoudi pushed his way between them both and surged into the lead as they rounded the final curve. Clarke recovered and began chasing Gammoudi while Mills appeared to be too far back to be in contention. Clarke failed to catch Gammoudi, but Mills pulled out to lane 4 and sprinted past them both. His winning time of 28:24.4 was almost 50 seconds faster than he had run before and set a new Olympic record for the event. No American had ever before won the 10,000 m, nor has any other American come seriously close until Galen Rupp took the silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

American television viewers were able to hear the surprise and drama as NBC expert analyst Dick Bank[1] screamed, "Look at Mills, look at Mills" over the more sedate play-by-play announcer Bud Palmer, who seemed to miss what was unfolding.[2] For bringing that drama to the coverage, Bank was fired.[3]

The top four runners beat the Olympic record.

Place Athlete Nation Time 5000
1 Billy Mills United States 28:24.4 OR 14:04.6
2 Mohammed Gammoudi Tunisia 28:24.8 14:07.0
3 Ron Clarke Australia 28:25.8 14:05.0
4 Mamo Wolde Ethiopia 28:31.8 14:06.0
5 Leonid Ivanov Soviet Union 28:53.2 14:13.0
6 Kōkichi Tsuburaya Japan 28:59.3 14:09.0
7 Murray Halberg New Zealand 29:10.8 14:16.0
8 Tony Cook Australia 29:15.8 14:11.0
9 Gerry Lindgren United States 29:20.6 14:12.0
10 Franc Cervan Yugoslavia 29:21.0 14:16.0
11 Siegfried Herrmann United Team of Germany 29:27.0 14:17.0
12 Henri Clerckx Belgium 29:29.6 14:28.0
13 Jean Fayolle France 29:30.8 14:27.0
14 Funai Teruo Japan 29:33.2 14:27.0
15 Jean Vaillant France 29:33.6 14:27.0
16 József Sütő Hungary 29:43.0 14:36.0
17 Josef Tomas Czechoslovakia 29:46.4 14:39.0
18 Ron Hill Great Britain 29:53.0 14:27.0
19 Pal Benum Norway 30:00.8 14:38.0
20 Siegfried Rothe United Team of Germany 30:04.6 14:39.0
21 Michael Bullivant Great Britain 30:12.0 14:28.0
22 Fergus Murray Great Britain 30:22.4 14:29.0
23 Barry Magee New Zealand 30:32.0 14:06.0
24 Ron Larrieu United States 30:42.6 14:37.0
25 Pyotr Bolotnikov Soviet Union 30:52.8 14:42.0
26 Bruce Kidd Canada 30:56.4 14:43.0
27 Artur Hannemann United Team of Germany 30:56.6 15:13.0
28 Watanabe Kazumi Japan 31:00.6 15:12.0
29 Ranatunge Karunananda Ceylon 32:21.2 16:43.0


  1. ^ Track & Field News • View topic – Look At. (2010-06-30). Retrieved on 2011-04-18.
  2. ^ 1964 Olympic 10,000m on YouTube (2008-04-09). Retrieved on 2011-04-18.
  3. ^ "TV COLUMN: Bank's call made Mills' upset even more memorable". U-T San Diego. 
  • Official Report