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
Gold medal    Soviet Union
Silver medal    East Germany
Bronze medal    Italy
Athletics at the
1972 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 women
5000 m men
10,000 m men
100 m hurdles women
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men
3000 m
4×100 m relay men women
4×400 m relay men women
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

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]