Gaston Reiff

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Gaston Reiff
Medal record
Men's athletics
Competitor for  Belgium
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1948 London 5000 metres

Gaston Reiff (24 February 1921 – 6 May 1992) was a Belgian athlete, winner of the 1948 Olympic title in the 5,000 m.


Reiff was born in Braine-l'Alleud, and competed in boxing and football before switching to running. His greatest performance is no doubt his 5000 m title at the 1948 Summer Olympics. In a rainy London, he held off Czechoslovakian Emil Zátopek, winner of the 10000 m, who closed in fast in the final meters. By winning, he became the first Belgian track and field athlete to win an Olympic title.

Apart from his Olympic championship, Reiff also set world records in the 2000 m, 3000 m and 2 miles, and won a bronze medal in the 5000 m at the 1950 European Championships. He won 24 national titles, and set 26 national records; in 1951 he possessed all Belgian records on distances ranging from 1000 m to 10000 m. In 1952, he failed to retain his Olympic title in Helsinki, and had to abandon the final.

Reiff died in his birthplace at age 71. Nearly ten years after his death, he was placed third in the Walloon athlete of the 20th century election.

Preceded by
Sweden Gunder Hägg
Men's 3000 m World Record Holder
12 August 1949 – 14 May 1955
Succeeded by
Hungary Sandor Iharos