Athletics at the 1976 Summer Olympics – Men's 1500 metres

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Athletics at the
1976 Summer Olympics
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These are the official results of the Men's 1,500m metres event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The final was held on Saturday 31 July 1976 and was contested by 9 athletes. The semi-finals were held on 30 July 1976 and were contested by 18 athletes. The heats were held on 29 July 1976 and 45 athletes entered.

With the absence of notable front runner, world record holder Filbert Bayi, who was part of the 1976 Summer Olympics boycott, the race devolved into a slow, tactical battle. After a slow 62 second first lap, notable kicker Eamonn Coghlan rushed from the back of the field to the front, followed by mile world record holder, John Walker, but their action in the front only seemed to keep the pace slow. For another lap and a half, the field jockeyed for position for the inevitable final kick. Between 500 meters out and the bell the field bunched so it was almost four abreast across the line behind Walker and Coghlan. The bunch followed around the turn to the start line, then Walker decided to make the break, gaining a step on Coghlan with 800 meter medalists Rick Wohlhuter and Ivo Van Damme the next in line. Walker never relinquished his lead, slowly building on the gap. Behind him van Damme with Wohlhuter as his shadow, edged up on Coghlan. First Wohlhuter fell back, then Coghlan. As van Damme continued to chase Walker, Paul-Heinz Wellmann ran past the faltering athletes along the rail. A defeated Coghlan tried not to give up, dipping for the finish line in vain almost 10 meters too early. All that succeeded in doing was making him lose his balance, clearly falling to fourth place.

Five months after this race, van Damme was killed in an automobile accident. Three other competitors from this race had notable extended careers; Walker set the record for running 100 sub-4 minute miles in his career in 1985. He competed in the Athletics at the 1990 Commonwealth Games on home soil at age 38. David Moorcroft set the 5,000 metres world record and later the masters M40 world record in the mile. Coghlan held the title of "Chairman of the boards" as a spectacular indoor mile runner. He took Moorcroft's masters record on an indoor track, becoming the first masters runner to break the 4 minute mile.


These are the standing world and Olympic records (in seconds) prior to the 1976 Summer Olympics.

World Record 3:32.16 Tanzania Filbert Bayi Christchurch (NZL) February 2, 1974
Olympic Record 3:34.9 Kenya Kip Keino Mexico City (MEX) October 20, 1968


Med 1.png  John Walker (NZL) 3:39.17
Med 2.png  Ivo Van Damme (BEL) 3:39.27
Med 3.png  Paul-Heinz Wellmann (FRG) 3:39.33
4.  Eamonn Coghlan (IRL) 3:39.51
5.  Frank Clement (GBR) 3:39.65
6.  Rick Wohlhuter (USA) 3:40.64
7.  David Moorcroft (GBR) 3:40.94
8.  Graham Crouch (AUS) 3:41.80
9.  Janos Zemen (HUN) 3:43.02


1.  John Walker (NZL) 3:39.65
2.  Graham Crouch (AUS) 3:39.86
3.  David Moorcroft (GBR) 3:39.88
4.  Janos Zemen (HUN) 3:39.94
5.  Thomas Wessinghage (FRG) 3:40.06
6.  Steve Ovett (GBR) 3:40.34
7.  Herman Mignon (BEL) 3:40.92
8.  Fernando Pacheco Mamede (POR) 3:42.59
-.  David Hill (CAN) DNF

1.  Eamonn Coghlan (IRL) 3:38.60
2.  Rick Wohlhuter (USA) 3:38.71
3.  Ivo Van Damme (BEL) 3:38.75
4.  Frank Clement (GBR) 3:38.92
5.  Paul-Heinz Wellmann (FRG) 3:38.99
6.  Francis Gonzalez (FRA) 3:40.73
7.  Paul Craig (CAN) 3:41.02
8.  Marc Nevens (BEL) 3:41.52
9.  Helder Baiona De Jesus (POR) 3:47.37


1.  Marc Nevens (BEL) 3:44.18
2.  Helder Baiona De Jesus (POR) 3:44.20
3.  Janos Zemen (HUN) 3:44.27
4.  Ake Svensson (SWE) 3:44.42
5.  Evert Hoving (NED) 3:45.00
6.  Matt Centrowitz (USA) 3:45.02
7.  Antti Loikkanen (FIN) 3:45.32
8.  Ruben Sorensen (DEN) 3:45.39
-  Mhamed Amakdouf (MAR) DNS

1.  Steve Ovett (GBR) 3:37.89
2.  Thomas Wessinghage (FRG) 3:37.93
3.  Fernando Pacheco Mamede (POR) 3:37.98
4.  Herman Mignon (BEL) 3:38.32
5.  Michael Durkin (USA) 3:38.89
6.  Gheorghe Ghipu (ROM) 3:39.20
7.  Günther Hasler (LIE) 3:39.34
8.  Markku Laine (FIN) 3:45.32
9.  Francisco Menocal (NCA) 4:12.47

1.  John Walker (NZL) 3:36.87
2.  Frank Clement (GBR) 3:37.53
3.  Graham Crouch (AUS) 3:37.97
4.  Paul Craig (CAN) 3:38.00
5.  Francis Gonzalez (FRA) 3:38.59
6.  Bronisław Malinowski (POL) 3:41.67
7.  Agguast Asgeirsson (ISL) 3:45.47
8.  Shukair Al Shaibani (KSA) 4:08.70
-  Anders Gärderud (SWE) DNS

1.  Paul-Heinz Wellmann (FRG) 3:39.86
2.  Ivo Van Damme (BEL) 3:39.93
3.  Rick Wohlhuter (USA) 3:39.94
4.  Niall O'Shaughnessy (IRL) 3:40.12
5.  Anthony Colón (PUR) 3:43.51
6.  Ulf Hogberg (SWE) 3:47.96
7.  Peter Spir (CAN) 3:59.60
8.  Emmanuel Saint-Hilaire (HAI) 4:23.41
-  Carlo Grippo (ITA) DNS

1.  Eamonn Coghlan (IRL) 3:39.87
2.  Dave Moorcroft (GBR) 3:40.69
3.  Dave Hill (CAN) 3:41.24
4.  Karl Fleschen (FRG) 3:42.09
5.  Rolf Gysin (SUI) 3:42.69
6.  Luis Medina (CUB) 3:42.71
7.  Lars Kaupang (NOR) 3:44.59
8.  Spilios Zaxaropoulos (GRE) 3:45.12
9.  Muhammad Siddique (PAK) 3:45.59

See also[edit]