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
1st, gold medalist(s) Billy Mills  United States
2nd, silver medalist(s) Mohammed Gammoudi  Tunisia
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Ron Clarke  Australia
← 1960
1968 →

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. 38 athletes from 23 nations entered, with 6 more not starting the event. The event was held as a single heat.[1]



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 Billy Mills of the United States. 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[2] screamed, "Look at Mills, look at Mills" over the more sedate play-by-play announcer Bud Palmer, who seemed to miss what was unfolding.[3] For bringing that drama to the coverage, Bank was fired.[4]

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 Teruo Funai  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
Pascal Mfyomi  Tanzania DNF
Naftali Temu  Kenya DNF
János Pintér  Hungary DNF
Jim Hogan  Ireland DNF
Muharrem Dalkılıç  Turkey DNF
Andrei Barabaș  Romania DNF
Fernando Aguilar  Spain DNF
Mohamed Hadheb Hannachi  Tunisia DNF
Nikolay Dutov  Soviet Union DNF


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1964 Tokyo Games: Men's 10,000 metres". Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  2. ^ Track & Field News • View topic – Look At Archived 2012-02-27 at the Wayback Machine.. (2010-06-30). Retrieved on 2011-04-18.
  3. ^ 1964 Olympic 10,000m on YouTube (2008-04-09). Retrieved on 2011-04-18.
  4. ^ "TV COLUMN: Bank's call made Mills' upset even more memorable". U-T San Diego.