Athletics at the 1988 Summer Olympics – Men's 5000 metres

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The Men's 5000 metres at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea had an entrylist of 57 competitors, with three qualifying heats (57) and two semifinals (30) before the final (15) took place on Saturday October 1, 1988.

The race started off tactically, with Stefano Mei taking the point for a slow first lap, then Evgeni Ignatov accelerating for a faster second lap. 900 metres into the race, John Ngugi went all in, coming from the back of the pack, passing the field and dropping a sub-60 lap. The field scrambled and strung out in chase but soon he had a 15-metre gap. Another 61 second lap and he had 30 metres. Ngugi slowed to a more rational pace, but still have a 40-metre breakaway on the peloton, led by John Doherty. With five and a half laps to go, Domingos Castro went around Doherty to lead the effort to bridge the gap. Castro's move strung out the pack, as Castro separated himself from the other chasers and closed down on Ngugi's gap. Castro eventually had a larger gap on the pack than Ngugi had on him, at the bell six seconds on the leader of the pack who was now Dieter Baumann. Ngugi began to widen his gap on Castro and trotted home to the win unchallenged. Behind Castro, Baumann and Hansjörg Kunze were sprinting in a battle for bronze. 30 metres from the finish, Baumann caught the exhausted Castro. Five metres before the finish, Kunze also sprinted past Castro, both (West and East respectively) German runners running about a 56-second last lap.


Gold John Ngugi
Silver Dieter Baumann
 West Germany
Bronze Hansjörg Kunze
 East Germany


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1988 Summer Olympics.

World Record 12:58.39 Morocco Saïd Aouita Rome (ITA) July 22, 1987
Olympic Record 13:05.59 Morocco Saïd Aouita Los Angeles (USA) August 11, 1984


Med 1.png  John Ngugi (KEN) 13:11.70
Med 2.png  Dieter Baumann (FRG) 13:15.52
Med 3.png  Hansjörg Kunze (GDR) 13:15.73
4.  Domingos Castro (POR) 13:16.09
5.  Sydney Maree (USA) 13:23.69
6.  Jack Buckner (GBR) 13:23.85
7.  Stefano Mei (ITA) 13:26.17
8.  Evgeni Ignatov (BUL) 13:26.41
9.  John Doherty (IRL) 13:27.71
10.  Jonny Danielsson (SWE) 13:30.44
11.  Pascal Thiebaut (FRA) 13:31.99
12.  Yobes Ondieki (KEN) 13:52.01
13.  Gary Staines (GBR) 13:55.00
14.  Paul Arpin (FRA) 14:13.19
 José Regalo (POR) DNF


  • Eliminated in the semi-finals
16.  Salvatore Antibo (ITA) 13:25.64
17.  Eamonn Martin (GBR) 13:26.26
18.  Cyril Laventure (FRA) 13:29.92
19.  Mauricio González (MEX) 13:32.52
20.  Doug Padilla (USA) 13:37.11
21.  Charles Cheruiyot (KEN) 13:38.44
22.  Abel Antón (ESP) 13:39.13
23.  Alejandro Gómez (ESP) 13:41.73
24.  Andrew Lloyd (AUS) 13:42.49
25.  Mikhail Dasko (URS) 13:43.65
26.  Paul Williams (CAN) 13:44.57
27.  Marcos Barreto (MEX) 13:53.93
28.  Eamon Coghlan (IRL) 14:02.16
29.  Vincent Rousseau (BEL) 14:03.74
30.  Terry Brahm (USA) 14:04.12

See also[edit]