Athletics at the 1972 Summer Olympics – Women's 1500 metres

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Women's 1500 metres
at the Games of the XX Olympiad
Venue Olympic Stadium, Munich, West Germany
Date 4 September 1972 & 9 September 1972
1st, gold medalist(s) Ludmila Bragina  Soviet Union
2nd, silver medalist(s) Gunhild Hoffmeister  East Germany
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Paola Pigni  Italy
1976 →
Athletics at the
1972 Summer Olympics
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These are the official results of the Women's 1500 metres event at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The competition was held on 4 of September & 9 of September. This was the first time this distance was held for women at the Olympics. Women had not been allowed to compete in any distance since the 800 metres was added in 1960. Women have been compete in the 1500 metres since the 1969 European Athletics Championships.[1]

With the event in its infancy, Ludmila Bragina had just set the world record a month and a half earlier, knocking two and a half seconds off of Karin Burneleit's previous record. Burneleit was in the field, as were previous record holders Jaroslava Jehličková and Paola Pigni. In the first heat, Bragina improved upon her world record by .4. A step behind her, seventeen year old Glenda Reiser set the world junior record, also running faster than the world record at the start of that race. Reiser's time would also qualify as the World Youth Best.

In the first semi final, Reiser was not so lucky, not only did she not run as fast, but she didn't qualify for the final. In the second semi final, Bragina again improved the world record by almost a second and a half, while Jehličková was eliminated.

In the final, Berny Boxem was the early leader, while Bragina languished in dead last place. After the first 600 metres, Bragina decided to change that, moving to the outside and running past the field at a quicker tempo. Only long striding Berny Boxem was able to go with her as Bragina opened up a 10-metre lead on the field. After another 300 metres, Boxem began to fade and was quickly swallowed up by the front of the pack led by Sheila Carey. At the bell Ellen Tittel dropped out, collapsing onto the high jump apron while Bragina continued to expand her lead. Gunhild Hoffmeister moved past Carey into second place but they all were losing ground to Bragina. Several places back, Pigni launched into her kick, passing Burneleit, Keizer, Carey and almost catching Hoffmeister. But Hoffmeister noticed and defended her position, battling to stay ahead. Twice on the home stretch, with her arms flailing, Pigni looked to draw even with Hoffmeister, but each time Hoffmeister edged ahead to take the silver medal. Not only did Bragina set a third consecutive world record, but the next four competitors behind her beat her world record from two days earlier. Even sixth place Keizer was only .06 behind the previous record, at a time when records were only accurate to .1 of a second.


The top four runners in each heat (blue) and the next two fastest (pink), advanced to the semifinal round.

Heat one[edit]

Rank Name Nationality Time Notes
1 Ludmila Bragina  Soviet Union 4:06.47 WR
2 Glenda Reiser  Canada 4:06.71 WJR
3 Ilja Keizer  Netherlands 4:08.00
4 Jenny Orr  Australia 4:08.06
5 Jaroslava Jehličková  Czechoslovakia 4:08.39
6 Christa Merten  West Germany 4:12.60
7 Joan Allison  Great Britain 4:14.89
8 Marijke Moser  Switzerland 4:24.94
9 Lee Chiu-Hsia  Republic of China 4:37.15

Heat two[edit]

Rank Name Nationality Time
1 Paola Pigni  Italy 4:09.53
2 Vasilena Amzina  Bulgaria 4:12.85
3 Berny Boxem  Netherlands 4:13.83
4 Francie Kraker  United States 4:14.73
5 Thelma Wright  Canada 4:15.43
6 Grete Andersen  Norway 4:16.00
7 Sára Ligetkutiné  Hungary 4:16.08
8 Gerda Ranz  West Germany 4:18.60
9 Vera Nikolić  Yugoslavia 4:23.36
- Arda Kalpakian  Lebanon DNS

Heat three[edit]

Rank Name Nationality Time
1 Tamara Pangelova  Soviet Union 4:10.75
2 Karin Burneleit  East Germany 4:10.83
3 Francie Larrieu  United States 4:11.18
4 Joyce Smith  Great Britain 4:11.27
5 Inger Knutsson  Sweden 4:11.32
6 Mary Tracey  Ireland 4:16.43
7 Sinikka Tyynelä  Finland 4:21.40
8 Emesia Chizunga  Malawi 4:41.47
- Magdolna Kulcsár  Hungary DNF

Heat four[edit]

Rank Name Nationality Time
1 Ellen Tittel  West Germany 4:12.12
2 Gunhild Hoffmeister  East Germany 4:12.80
3 Sheila Carey  Great Britain 4:13.01
4 Wenche Sørum  Norway 4:14.10
5 Tonka Petrova  Bulgaria 4:14.95
6 Anne-Marie Nenzell  Sweden 4:16.67
7 Margrit Hess  Switzerland 4:19.67
8 Tamara Kazachkova  Soviet Union 4:20.15
9 Chereno Maiyo  Kenya 4:20.9
- Doris Brown  United States DNS


The top four runners in each heat (blue) and the next two fastest (pink), advanced to the final round.

Heat one[edit]

Rank Name Nationality Time
1 Tamara Pangelova  Soviet Union 4:07.66
2 Paola Pigni  Italy 4:07.83
3 Gunhild Hoffmeister  East Germany 4:07.94
4 Ilja Keizer  Netherlands 4:08.25
5 Vasilena Amzina  Bulgaria 4:09.12
6 Joyce Smith  Great Britain 4:09.37
7 Glenda Reiser  Canada 4:09.51
8 Francie Kraker  United States 4:12.76
9 Inger Knutsson  Sweden 4:14.97

Heat two[edit]

Rank Name Nationality Time Notes
1 Ludmila Bragina  Soviet Union 4:05.07 WR
2 Karin Burneleit  East Germany 4:05.78
3 Ellen Tittel  West Germany 4:06.65
4 Sheila Carey  Great Britain 4:07.41
5 Berny Boxem  Netherlands 4:08.81
6 Jenny Orr  Australia 4:08.86
7 Wenche Sørum  Norway 4:09.70
8 Francie Larrieu  United States 4:15.26
9 Jaroslava Jehličková  Czechoslovakia 4:18.16


Nine participants of the 1500 final. Bragina is leading and is not seen in the image. She is followed by Keizer, Carey and Hoffmeister.
Rank Name Nationality Time Notes
1st, gold medalist(s) Ludmila Bragina  Soviet Union 4:01.38 WR
2nd, silver medalist(s) Gunhild Hoffmeister  East Germany 4:02.83
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Paola Pigni  Italy 4:02.85
4 Karin Burneleit  East Germany 4:04.11
5 Sheila Carey  Great Britain 4:04.81
6 Ilja Keizer  Netherlands 4:05.13
7 Tamara Pangelova  Soviet Union 4:06.45
8 Jenny Orr  Australia 4:12.15
9 Berny Boxem  Netherlands 4:13.10
- Ellen Tittel  West Germany DNF

Key: WR = world record; OR = Olympic record; DNS = did not start; DNF = did not finish


External links[edit]