Athletics at the 1984 Summer Olympics – Men's 1500 metres

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Men's 1500 metres
at the Games of the XXIII Olympiad
Olympic Athletics.png
Olympic Athletics
VenueLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Dates9–11 August
Competitors59 from 40 nations
Winning time3:32.53 OR
1st place, gold medalist(s) Sebastian Coe
 Great Britain
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Steve Cram
 Great Britain
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) José Manuel Abascal
← 1980
1988 →

The men's 1500 metres was an event at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. The final was held on August 11, 1984.[1] Fifty-nine athletes from 40 nations competed.[2] The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress. The event was won by Sebastian Coe of Great Britain, the first man to successfully defend an Olympic 1500 metres title. Steve Cram's silver made it the first time a nation had gone 1–2 in the event since Great Britain had done it in 1920. José Manuel Abascal's bronze was Spain's first medal in the event.


From the start Omar Khalifa went to the lead, shadowed by Joseph Chesire with Sebastian Coe marking their lead in third. The first lap was 58.85. 500 metres into the race, Steve Scott ran around the leaders to take the point, Coe and José Manuel Abascal stringing out the field. They passed the 800 metre mark in a slightly faster 1:56.81. Abascal continued to speed up, passing Coe then Scott between 900 and 1000. Scott began to fall back through the field as Steve Cram and Steve Ovett moved forward. At the bell the three Brits were 2–4, three Steves were 3–5. Midway through the penultimate turn, suddenly the world record holder Ovett stepped inside of the curb and stopped. With 300 to go in an even faster 2:53.21, Abascal, Coe and Cram had three metres on Cheshire who accelerated around Scott and Jim Spivey as Ovett dropped out. Cram accelerated down the back stretch, Coe reacting, with about 220 metres to go, the leaders were three abreast across the track. Coe emerged ahead into the turn with Cram sprinting in his wake. Coe looked around to see where his competition was then focused on holding his position. Coming off the turn, Coe checked again, seeing Cram still a metre behind him, breaking away from Abascal. Coe sprinted away from Cram, checking again mid-straightaway to be sure his work was accomplished, then extending his lead to 6 metres by the finish. Cram had another 7 metres on Abascal who was able to hold off Cheshire for bronze. Coe became the only man to successfully defend his title in the 1500 metres. Coe turned back toward the press area and angrily showed them his index finger on both hands, indicating he was number one again. Still fresh after running less than 2 seconds off the world record, Coe jogged back still looking at that area of the stands and again showing his number one finger.


This was the 20th appearance of the event, which is one of 12 athletics events to have been held at every Summer Olympics. The only 1980 finalists to return were the three British runners: gold medalist Sebastian Coe, bronze medalist Steve Ovett, and eighth-place finisher Steve Cram. Coe and Ovett had been favorites then, with Cram not considered quite so highly; by 1984, however, they were a true triumvirate (with Cram winning the 1982 Commonwealth and European Championships and the inaugural 1983 World Championship; Ovett had set the world record in 1983; Coe was the defending Olympic champion) and a threat to sweep the podium. Their main competition was Steve Scott of the United States, who had been prevented from running at the 1980 Games due to the American-led boycott; Scott had taken second to Cram at the 1983 Worlds. Johan Fourie of South Africa was blocked from competing by the ban on his nation.[2]

Antigua and Barbuda, Equatorial Guinea, the Gambia, Guyana, Jordan, Niger, Oman, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Suriname, the United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe each made their first appearance in the event. The United States made its 19th appearance, most of all nations (having missed only the boycotted 1980 Games).

Competition format[edit]

The competition was again three rounds (used previously in 1952 and since 1964). The "fastest loser" system introduced in 1964 was used for both the first round and semifinals. The 9-man semifinals and finals from 1976 and 1980 were replaced with 12-man races.

There were six heats in the first round, each with 10 or 11 runners (before withdrawals). The top three runners in each heat, along with the next six fastest overall, advanced to the semifinals. The 24 semifinalists were divided into two semifinals, each with 12 runners. The top four men in each semifinal, plus the next four fastest overall, advanced to the 12-man final.[2][3]


These were the standing world and Olympic records prior to the 1984 Summer Olympics.

World record  Steve Ovett (GBR) 3:30.77 Rieti, Italy 4 September 1983
Olympic record  Kip Keino (KEN) 3:34.9 Mexico City, Mexico 20 October 1968

Sebastian Coe set a new Olympic record at 3:32.53 in the final.


All times are Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Date Time Round
Thursday, 9 August 1984 16:15 Round 1
Friday, 10 August 1984 17:40 Semifinals
Saturday, 11 August 1984 18:55 Final


Round 1[edit]

Heat 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Joseph Chesire  Kenya 3:38.51 Q
2 Omer Khalifa  Sudan 3:38.93 Q
3 Stefano Mei  Italy 3:39.25 Q
4 Tony Rogers  New Zealand 3:39.78 q
5 José Luis González  Spain 3:47.01
6 Faouzi Lahbi  Morocco 3:47.54
7 Paul Ceesay  The Gambia 3:59.14
8 Amor Masoud Al-Sharji  Oman 4:12.76
Antti Loikkanen  Finland DNF
Charlie Oliver  Solomon Islands DNS

Heat 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Pascal Thiébaut  France 3:45.18 Q
2 Sebastian Coe  Great Britain 3:45.30 Q
3 Andrés Vera  Spain 3:45.44 Q
4 Paul Donovan  Ireland 3:45.70
5 Jama Mohamed Aden  Somalia 3:46.80
6 Mohamed Alouini  Tunisia 3:49.78
7 Dale Jones  Antigua and Barbuda 3:55.65
8 Kgomotso Balotthanyi  Botswana 3:58.69
Oslen Barr  Guyana DNF
Abdul Al-Ghadi  North Yemen DNS
Sydney Maree  United States DNS

Heat 3[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Steve Ovett  Great Britain 3:49.23 Q
2 Agberto Guimarães  Brazil 3:49.26 Q
3 Marcus O'Sullivan  Ireland 3:49.65 Q
4 Josephat Muraya  Kenya 3:51.61
5 Gawain Guy  Jamaica 3:52.04
6 Claudio Patrignani  Italy 3:52.63
7 Mehdi Aidet  Algeria 3:53.92
8 Mouteb Al-Faouri  Jordan 3:59.85
Pierre Délèze  Switzerland DNF
Francisco Figueredo  Paraguay DNS
William Wuycke  Venezuela DNS

Heat 4[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Joaquim Cruz  Brazil 3:41.01 Q
2 Steve Scott  United States 3:41.02 Q
3 Michael Hillardt  Australia 3:41.18 Q
4 Frank O'Mara  Ireland 3:41.76
5 Alex Gonzalez  France 3:42.84
6 Mark Handelsman  Israel 3:45.05
7 Abderrahmane Morceli  Algeria 3:45.09
8 Archfell Musango  Zambia 3:46.99
9 Adamou Allassane  Niger 3:56.43
10 Tito Rodrigues  Suriname 4:02.87
Dragan Zdravković  Yugoslavia DNS

Heat 5[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 José Manuel Abascal  Spain 3:37.68 Q
2 Peter Wirz  Switzerland 3:37.75 Q
3 Uwe Becker  West Germany 3:37.76 Q
4 Riccardo Materazzi  Italy 3:37.95 q
5 Pat Scammell  Australia 3:39.18 q
6 James Igohe  Tanzania 3:39.62 q
7 Tapfumaneyi Jonga  Zimbabwe 3:40.42 q
8 Isaac Ganunga  Malawi 3:53.86
9 Hugo Allan García  Guatemala 3:57.59
10 Kim Bok-Joo  South Korea 4:02.63
Ibrahim Aziz  United Arab Emirates DNF

Heat 6[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Steve Cram  Great Britain 3:40.33 Q
2 Jim Spivey  United States 3:40.58 Q
3 Peter O'Donoghue  New Zealand 3:40.69 Q
4 Abdi Bile  Somalia 3:40.72 q
5 Kipkoech Cheruiyot  Kenya 3:41.96
6 Zakaria Namonge  Tanzania 3:45.55
7 Batulamai Rajakumar  Malaysia 3:55.19
8 Jean-Marie Rudasingwa  Rwanda 3:57.62
9 Philip Sinon  Seychelles 4:25.80
10 Diosdado Lozano  Equatorial Guinea 4:34.71
Omar Ortega  Argentina DNF


Semifinal 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 José Manuel Abascal  Spain 3:35.70 Q
2 Steve Scott  United States 3:35.71 Q
3 Sebastian Coe  Great Britain 3:35.81 Q
4 Joseph Chesire  Kenya 3:35.83 Q
Peter Wirz  Switzerland 3:35.83 Q
6 Tony Rogers  New Zealand 3:36.48 q
7 Riccardo Materazzi  Italy 3:36.51 q
8 Michael Hillardt  Australia 3:38.12
9 Pascal Thiébaut  France 3:40.96
10 James Igohe  Tanzania 3:41.57
Abdi Bile  Somalia DSQ
Agberto Guimarães  Brazil DSQ

Semifinal 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Steve Cram  Great Britain 3:36.30 Q
2 Jim Spivey  United States 3:36.53 Q
3 Andrés Vera  Spain 3:36.55 Q
Steve Ovett  Great Britain 3:36.55 Q
5 Omar Khalifa  Sudan 3:36.76 q
6 Uwe Becker  West Germany 3:37.28
7 Stefano Mei  Italy 3:37.96
8 Peter O'Donoghue  New Zealand 3:38.71
9 Marcus O'Sullivan  Ireland 3:39.40
10 Pat Scammell  Australia 3:40.83
11 Tapfumaneyi Jonga  Zimbabwe 3:41.80
Joaquim Cruz  Brazil DNF


Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1st place, gold medalist(s) Sebastian Coe  Great Britain 3:32.53 OR
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Steve Cram  Great Britain 3:33.40
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) José Manuel Abascal  Spain 3:34.30
4 Joseph Chesire  Kenya 3:34.52
5 Jim Spivey  United States 3:36.07
6 Peter Wirz  Switzerland 3:36.97
7 Andrés Vera  Spain 3:37.02
8 Omar Khalifa  Sudan 3:37.11
9 Tony Rogers  New Zealand 3:38.98
10 Steve Scott  United States 3:39.86
11 Riccardo Materazzi  Italy 3:40.74
Steve Ovett  Great Britain DNF

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1984 Los Angeles Games: Men's 1500 metres". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "1500 metres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  3. ^ Official Report, vol. 2, pp. 276–77.

External links[edit]