Athletics at the 1988 Summer Olympics – Women's 1500 metres

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Athletics at the
1988 Summer Olympics
Olympic Athletics.png
Track events
100 m   men   women
200 m men women
400 m men women
800 m men women
1500 m men women
3000 m women
5000 m men
10,000 m men women
100 m hurdles women
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men women
3000 m
4×100 m relay men women
4×400 m relay men women
Road events
Marathon men women
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
Heptathlon women
Decathlon men
Wheelchair races

The women's 1500 metres at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea had an entrylist of 28 competitors, with two qualifying heats (28) before the final (12) took place on Saturday October 1, 1988.

From the gun in the final, Paula Ivan wanted the lead. Mary Slaney and Ivan's teammate Doina Melinte didn't want to let her get away. The field behind her looked bunched but the 1:02.52 first lap showed she was serious. This was world record pace, rare for a championship race that usually breaks down into a strategic battle. After the first lap, a small gap began to open. Melinte was the last to maintain contact, perhaps having seen this strategy previously in domestic competition. The second lap was completed in 1:03.26, a ten-metre gap had opened, with Tetyana Samolenko edging past Melinte in chase. 2:52.66 at the bell and a fifteen-metre gap, Ivan began a last lap kick, trying to run the 60 second last lap to get the world record. Because of the acceleration, the third lap was the fastest of them all at 1:02.46. The battle was for the medals behind Ivan, Andrea Hahmann passing Samolenko, who had Christina Cahill on her shoulder with Lynn Williams in chase. Melinte faded back to Slaney but behind all of them, Laimutė Baikauskaitė was charging. Onto the home stretch the chase pack was tightening, some 30 metres behind Ivan. Baikauskaitė moved into lane 3 to find some running room. Ivan wasn't able to find a 60-second lap, 61.5 was enough to set the Olympic record out of sight with a dominant gold medal performance. Hahmann faded and Samolenko was leading down the stretch with Cahill in close pursuit. Making up ten metres on the final straight, Baikauskaitė passed Cahill and Hahmann in the final 15 metres and leaned past Samolenko at the line to take the silver.


Gold Paula Ivan
Silver Laimutė Baikauskaitė
 Soviet Union
Bronze Tetyana Samolenko
 Soviet Union


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

World Record 3:52.47 Soviet Union Tatyana Kazankina Zürich (SUI) August 13, 1980
Olympic Record 3:56.56 Soviet Union Tatyana Kazankina Moscow (URS) August 1, 1980

The following Olympic record (in minutes) was set during this competition.

Date Athlete Time OR WR
September 26, 1988  Paula Ivan (ROM) 3:53.96 OR


Med 1.png  Paula Ivan (ROU) 3:53.96
Med 2.png  Laimutė Baikauskaitė (URS) 4:00.24
Med 3.png  Tetyana Samolenko (URS) 4:00.30
4.  Christina Cahill (GBR) 4:00.64
5.  Lynn Williams (CAN) 4:00.86
6.  Andrea Hahmann (GDR) 4:00.96
7.  Shireen Bailey (GBR) 4:02.32
8.  Mary Slaney (USA) 4:02.49
9.  Doina Melinte (ROU) 4:02.89
10.  Fatima Aouam (MAR) 4:08.00
11.  Kim Gallagher (USA) 4:16.25
12.  Debbie Bowker (CAN) 4:17.95


13.  Elly van Hulst (NED) 4:07.40
14.  Hassiba Boulmerka (ALG) 4:08.33
15.  Kirsty Wade (GBR) 4:08.37
16.  Lyubov Gurina (URS) 4:08.59
17.  Angela Chalmers (CAN) 4:08.64
18.  Vera Michallek (FRG) 4:10.05
19.  Susan Sirma (KEN) 4:10.13
20.  Cornelia Bürki (SUI) 4:10.89
21.  Regina Jacobs (USA) 4:18.09
22.  Letitia Vriesde (SUR) 4:19.58
23.  Khin Khin Htwe (BIR) 4:20.92
24.  Noh Hea-Soon (KOR) 4:26.05
25.  Daphrose Nyiramutuzo (RWA) 4:32.31
26.  Laverne Bryan (ANT) 4:39.73
27.  Joanne Smitton (PNG) 4:46.49
28.  Rachel Thompson (SLE) 5:31.42

See also[edit]