Athletics at the 1980 Summer Olympics – Men's 800 metres

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Men's 800 metres
at the Games of the XXII Olympiad
VenueLenin Stadium
Date24-26 July
Competitors41 from 28 nations
Winning time1:45.4
1st, gold medalist(s) Steve Ovett
 Great Britain
2nd, silver medalist(s) Sebastian Coe
 Great Britain
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Nikolay Kirov
 Soviet Union
← 1976
1984 →

These are the official results of the Men's 800 metres event at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union. There were a total number of 41 participating athletes, with six qualifying heats, three semifinals and the final held on Saturday July 26, 1980.[1]


Gold Silver Bronze
Steve Ovett
 Great Britain
Sebastian Coe
 Great Britain
Nikolay Kirov
 Soviet Union


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1980 Summer Olympics.

World Record 1:42.4 United Kingdom Sebastian Coe Oslo (NOR) July 5, 1979
Olympic Record 1:43.50 Cuba Alberto Juantorena Montreal (CAN) July 25, 1976



This Olympic 800-metre final was a notably tactical one. Already on the first back straight, there was some physical contact in the tightly bunched eight-man field. Britain's Steve Ovett was boxed in and pushed East Germany's Detlef Wagenknecht, in order to get more room and a tactically better place. The first 200 metres were run in about 26 seconds, according to the long-time BBC sports journalist David Coleman. At that point, Brazil's Agberto Guimaraes was leading the race, flanked by Britain's David Warren. On the first home straight, Ovett again tried to force his way to a better position, elbowing Wagenknecht and the Soviet Union's Nikolay Kirov. Unofficially the 400-metre split time was 54.55 seconds. Behind Guimaraes, Warren and Wagenknecht, Kirov and East Germany's Andreas Busse were tied for the fourth place. Ovett and France's José Marajo ran right behind Busse. The strongest pre-race favourite, and the sole world record holder at 800 metres, 1000 metres and the mile, Britain's Sebastian Coe, was running eighth, and almost touched the third lane's edge. At or around 430 or 440 metres, Warren suddenly sprinted past Guimaraes. Kirov rose to the second place, and on the final back straight, Ovett moved to the third place. With over 200 metres to run, Kirov kicked into the lead, followed closely by Ovett. Only at this point, Coe began to sprint hard, moving quickly into the fifth place. On the final bend, Kirov and Ovett were able to maintain their lead over Guimaraes and Coe. In the final straight's first half, Ovett easily passed Kirov while Coe desperately accelerated towards Guimaraes. While he managed to pass the Brazilian, Coe lost valuable time and energy, and he was only able to catch one more runner, Kirov, in the final straight's second half. At the finish line, Ovett was still some three-and-a-half metres ahead of Coe, who finished a disappointed second, just half a metre ahead of the fading Kirov. (See YouTube videos of the 800-metre final; Kenny Moore, Best Efforts; Pat Roberts, The Perfect Distance: Coe and Ovett - The Record-Breaking Rivalry; Juoksija-lehti (The Runner Magazine), Moskovan olympiakirja (The Moscow Olympic Book).)

Rank Final Time
1st, gold medalist(s)  Steve Ovett (GBR) 1:45.4
2nd, silver medalist(s)  Sebastian Coe (GBR) 1:45.9
3rd, bronze medalist(s)  Nikolay Kirov (URS) 1:46.0
4.  Agberto Guimarães (BRA) 1:46.2
5.  Andreas Busse (GDR) 1:46.9
6.  Detlef Wagenknecht (GDR) 1:47.0
7.  José Marajo (FRA) 1:47.3
8.  David Warren (GBR) 1:49.3


  • Held on Friday 1980-07-25
Rank HEAT 1 Time
1.  Steve Ovett (GBR) 1:46.6
2.  Andreas Busse (GDR) 1:46.9
3.  Agberto Guimarães (BRA) 1:46.9
4.  Owen Hamilton (JAM) 1:47.6
5.  Milovan Savić (YUG) 1:47.6
6.  Roger Milhau (FRA) 1:48.1
7.  Colomán Trabado (ESP) 1:48.1
8.  Mehdi Aidet (ALG) 1:48.2

Rank HEAT 2 Time
1.  Sebastian Coe (GBR) 1:46.7
2.  Detlef Wagenknecht (GDR) 1:46.7
3.  Binko Kolev (BUL) 1:47.3
4.  William Wuycke (VEN) 1:47.4
5.  Anatoly Reshetnyak (URS) 1:48.2
6.  Philippe Dupont (FRA) 1:49.7
7.  Musa Luliga (TAN) 1:51.5
8.  Derradji Harrek (ALG) 1:51.9

Rank HEAT 3 Time
1.  Nikolay Kirov (URS) 1:46.6
2.  David Warren (GBR) 1:47.2
3.  José Marajo (FRA) 1:47.3
4.  Olaf Beyer (GDR) 1:47.6
5.  Antonio Páez (ESP) 1:47.8
6.  Carlo Grippo (ITA) 1:48.7
7.  András Paróczai (HUN) 1:48.8
8.  Sriram Singh (IND) 1:49.0

Qualifying Heats[edit]

  • Held on Thursday 1980-07-24
Rank HEAT 1 Time
1.  Steve Ovett (GBR) 1:49.4
2.  Antonio Páez (ESP) 1:49.5
3.  Philippe Dupont (FRA) 1:49.6
4.  Sri Ram Singh (IND) 1:49.8
5.  Abebe Zerihun (ETH) 1:50.3
6.  Langa Mudongo (BOT) 1:52.5
7.  Kenneth Hlasa (LES) 1:56.1

Rank HEAT 2 Time
1.  Detlef Wagenknecht (GDR) 1:47.5
2.  Nikolay Kirov (URS) 1:47.5
3.  András Paróczai (HUN) 1:47.5
4.  Colomán Trabado (ESP) 1:47.9
5.  Musa Luliga (TAN) 1:49.6
6.  Jón Didriksson (ISL) 1:51.1
7.  George Branche (SLE) 1:54.6

Rank HEAT 3 Time
1.  Andreas Busse (GDR) 1:47.4
2.  Anatoliy Reshetniak (URS) 1:47.9
3.  Agberto Guimarães (BRA) 1:48.2
4.  William Wuycke (VEN) 1:48.5
5.  Derradji Harek (ALG) 1:49.9
6.  Tisbite Rakotoarisoa (MAD) 1:50.5
7.  Khaled Hussain (KUW) 1:54.6

Rank HEAT 4 Time
1.  Sebastian Coe (GBR) 1:48.5
2.  Roger Milhau (FRA) 1:48.5
3.  Binko Kolev (BUL) 1:48.7
4.  Carlo Grippo (ITA) 1:48.9
5.  Archfell Musango (ZAM) 1:51.6
6.  Mohamed Makhlouf (SYR) 1:52.3
7.  Jimmy Massallay (SLE) 2:04.4

Rank HEAT 5 Time
1.  Olaf Beyer (GDR) 1:48.9
2.  Milovan Savić (YUG) 1:49.2
3.  Owen Hamilton (JAM) 1:49.3
4.  Salem El-Margini (LBA) 1:50.0
5.  Atre Bezabeh (ETH) 1:52.7
6.  Adam Assimi (BEN) 1:59.9

Rank HEAT 6 Time
1.  José Marajo (FRA) 1:49.6
2.  David Warren (GBR) 1:49.9
3.  Mehdi Aidet (ALG) 1:50.4
4.  Nigusse Bekele (ETH) 1:51.1
5.  Sekou Camara (GUI) 1:58.9
6.  Vongdeuane Phongsavanh (LAO) 2:05.5
7.  Sahr Kendor (SLE) 2:06.5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games: Men's 800 metres". Retrieved 20 October 2017.

External links[edit]