Marathons at the Olympics

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Marathon
at the Olympic Games
1896 Olympic marathon.jpg
Burton Holmes' photograph entitled "1896: Three athletes in training for the marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens"
Overview
SportAthletics
GenderMen and women
Years heldMen: 18962016
Women: 19842016
Olympic record
Men2:06:32 Samuel Wanjiru (2008)
Women2:23:07 Tiki Gelana (2012)
Reigning champion
Men Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
Women Jemima Jelagat Sumgong (KEN)

The marathon at the Summer Olympics is the only road running event held at the multi-sport event. The men's marathon has been present on the Olympic athletics programme since 1896. Nearly ninety years later, the women's event was added to the programme at the 1984 Olympics.

History[edit]

The modern marathon event was created and later refined through the Olympic competition. The idea of holding a marathon race at the first Olympics was suggested to Pierre de Coubertin by Michel Bréal. Based upon a popular myth stemming from the Battle of Marathon, in which Pheidippides ran to Athens from the town of Marathon, Greece to carry the message of a Greek victory, the 1896 course began in the town of Marathon and finished in Athens' Panathenaic Stadium – a distance of around 40 kilometres (25 mi).[1] On April 10, 1896, Greek water-carrier Spyridon Louis won the first Olympic marathon in 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds. The route between Marathon and Panathenaic Stadium was repeated when Athens hosted the 2004 Games.

The race distance varied from 40 to 42 kilometres (25 to 26 mi) in the early editions as it was typically based upon the distance between two points that the organisers felt were suitable. The 1908 London Olympics marked the introduction of the now standard distance of 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 km).[2] However, it was not until the 1924 Paris Olympics that this distance became the standard at the Olympics.[3]

The Olympic marathon proved immediately popular in the Western world and quickly spawned numerous long-running annual races, including the Boston Marathon in 1897, the Tour de Paris Marathon in 1902, the Yonkers Marathon in 1907, and the London Polytechnic Marathon in 1909. Such marathons played a key role in the expansion of the road running movement internationally over the course of the 20th century.[4][5]

It has become a tradition for the men's Olympic marathon to be the last event of the athletics calendar, on the final day of the Olympics.[6] For many years the race finished inside the Olympic stadium; however, at the 2012 London games, the start and finish were on The Mall,[7] and at the 2016 Rio games, the start and finish were in the Sambódromo, the parade area that serves as a spectator mall for Carnival.[8] Often, the men's marathon medals are awarded at the closing ceremony; this occurred in 2004, 2012 and 2016, among other times.

The Olympic records for the event are 2:06:32 hours for men, set by Samuel Wanjiru in 2008, and 2:23:07 hours for women, set by Tiki Gelana in 2012. The men's marathon world record has been improved several times at the Olympics: in 1908, 1920, and then at successive Olympics by Abebe Bikila in 1960 and 1964.[9] Abebe Bikila and Waldemar Cierpinski are the only athletes to have won two Olympic gold medals in the marathon. No athlete has won more than two medals of any colour. Ethiopia has won the most gold medals in the event, with six, while the United States has the greatest medal total with twelve overall.[citation needed]

Medal summary[edit]

Men[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1896 Athens
details
Spiridon Louis
 Greece
Charilaos Vasilakos
 Greece
Gyula Kellner
 Hungary
1900 Paris
details
Michel Théato
 France[10]
Émile Champion
 France
Ernst Fast
 Sweden
1904 St. Louis
details
Thomas Hicks
 United States
Albert Corey
 United States[11]
Arthur Newton
 United States
1908 London
details
Johnny Hayes
 United States
Charles Hefferon
 South Africa
Joseph Forshaw
 United States
1912 Stockholm
details
Ken McArthur
 South Africa
Christian Gitsham
 South Africa
Gaston Strobino
 United States
1920 Antwerp
details
Hannes Kolehmainen
 Finland
Jüri Lossmann
 Estonia
Valerio Arri
 Italy
1924 Paris
details
Albin Stenroos
 Finland
Romeo Bertini
 Italy
Clarence DeMar
 United States
1928 Amsterdam
details
Boughera El Ouafi
 France
Manuel Plaza
 Chile
Martti Marttelin
 Finland
1932 Los Angeles
details
Juan Carlos Zabala
 Argentina
Sam Ferris
 Great Britain
Armas Toivonen
 Finland
1936 Berlin
details
Sohn Kee-chung
 Japan[12]
Ernest Harper
 Great Britain
Nan Shoryu
 Japan[12]
1948 London
details
Delfo Cabrera
 Argentina
Tom Richards
 Great Britain
Étienne Gailly
 Belgium
1952 Helsinki
details
Emil Zátopek
 Czechoslovakia
Reinaldo Gorno
 Argentina
Gustaf Jansson
 Sweden
1956 Melbourne
details
Alain Mimoun
 France
Franjo Mihalić
 Yugoslavia
Veikko Karvonen
 Finland
1960 Rome
details
Abebe Bikila
 Ethiopia
Rhadi Ben Abdesselam
 Morocco
Barry Magee
 New Zealand
1964 Tokyo
details
Abebe Bikila
 Ethiopia
Basil Heatley
 Great Britain
Kokichi Tsuburaya
 Japan
1968 Mexico City
details
Mamo Wolde
 Ethiopia
Kenji Kimihara
 Japan
Mike Ryan
 New Zealand
1972 Munich
details
Frank Shorter
 United States
Karel Lismont
 Belgium
Mamo Wolde
 Ethiopia
1976 Montreal
details
Waldemar Cierpinski
 East Germany
Frank Shorter
 United States
Karel Lismont
 Belgium
1980 Moscow
details
Waldemar Cierpinski
 East Germany
Gerard Nijboer
 Netherlands
Satymkul Dzhumanazarov
 Soviet Union
1984 Los Angeles
details
Carlos Lopes
 Portugal
John Treacy
 Ireland
Charlie Spedding
 Great Britain
1988 Seoul
details
Gelindo Bordin
 Italy
Douglas Wakiihuri
 Kenya
Ahmed Salah
 Djibouti
1992 Barcelona
details
Hwang Young-cho
 South Korea
Koichi Morishita
 Japan
Stephan Freigang
 Germany
1996 Atlanta
details
Josia Thugwane
 South Africa
Lee Bong-ju
 South Korea
Erick Wainaina
 Kenya
2000 Sydney
details
Gezahegne Abera
 Ethiopia
Erick Wainaina
 Kenya
Tesfaye Tola
 Ethiopia
2004 Athens
details
Stefano Baldini
 Italy
Mebrahtom Keflezighi
 United States
Vanderlei de Lima
 Brazil
2008 Beijing
details
Samuel Wanjiru
 Kenya
Jaouad Gharib
 Morocco
Tsegay Kebede
 Ethiopia
2012 London
details
Stephen Kiprotich
 Uganda
Abel Kirui
 Kenya
Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich
 Kenya
2016 Rio de Janeiro
details
Eliud Kipchoge
 Kenya
Feyisa Lelisa
 Ethiopia
Galen Rupp
 United States

Multiple medalists[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
1= Abebe Bikila  Ethiopia (ETH) 1960–1964 2 0 0 2
1= Waldemar Cierpinski  East Germany (GDR) 1976–1980 2 0 0 2
3 Frank Shorter  United States (USA) 1972–1976 1 1 0 2
4 Mamo Wolde  Ethiopia (ETH) 1968–1972 1 0 1 2
5= Karel Lismont  Belgium (BEL) 1972–1976 0 1 1 2
5= Erick Wainaina  Kenya (KEN) 1996–2000 0 1 1 2

Medals by country[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Ethiopia (ETH) 4 1 3 8
2  United States (USA) 3 3 5 11
3  France (FRA) 3 1 0 4
4  Kenya (KEN) 2 3 2 7
5  South Africa (RSA) 2 2 0 4
6  Italy (ITA) 2 1 1 4
7  Argentina (ARG) 2 1 0 3
8  Finland (FIN) 2 0 3 5
9  East Germany (GDR) 2 0 0 2
10  Japan (JPN) 1 2 2 5
11=  Greece (GRE) 1 1 0 2
11=  South Korea (KOR) 1 1 0 2
13=  Czechoslovakia (TCH) 1 0 0 1
13=  Portugal (POR) 1 0 0 1
13=  Uganda (UGA) 1 0 0 1
16  Great Britain (GBR) 0 4 1 5
17  Morocco (MAR) 0 2 0 2
18  Belgium (BEL) 0 1 2 3
19=  Chile (CHI) 0 1 0 1
19=  Estonia (EST) 0 1 0 1
19=  Ireland (IRL) 0 1 0 1
19=  Netherlands (NED) 0 1 0 1
19=  Yugoslavia (YUG) 0 1 0 1
24=  New Zealand (NZL) 0 0 2 2
24=  Sweden (SWE) 0 0 2 2
26=  Brazil (BRA) 0 0 1 1
26=  Djibouti (DJI) 0 0 1 1
26=  Germany (GER) 0 0 1 1
26=  Hungary (HUN) 0 0 1 1
26=  Soviet Union (URS) 0 0 1 1

Women[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1984 Los Angeles
details
Joan Benoit
 United States
Grete Waitz
 Norway
Rosa Mota
 Portugal
1988 Seoul
details
Rosa Mota
 Portugal
Lisa Martin
 Australia
Katrin Dörre
 East Germany
1992 Barcelona
details
Valentina Yegorova
 Unified Team
Yuko Arimori
 Japan
Lorraine Moller
 New Zealand
1996 Atlanta
details
Fatuma Roba
 Ethiopia
Valentina Yegorova
 Russia
Yuko Arimori
 Japan
2000 Sydney
details
Naoko Takahashi
 Japan
Lidia Șimon
 Romania
Joyce Chepchumba
 Kenya
2004 Athens
details
Mizuki Noguchi
 Japan
Catherine Ndereba
 Kenya
Deena Kastor
 United States
2008 Beijing
details
Constantina Tomescu
 Romania
Catherine Ndereba
 Kenya
Zhou Chunxiu
 China
2012 London
details
Tiki Gelana
 Ethiopia
Priscah Jeptoo
 Kenya
Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova
 Russia
2016 Rio de Janeiro
details
Jemima Sumgong
 Kenya
Eunice Kirwa
 Bahrain
Mare Dibaba
 Ethiopia

Multiple medalists[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Valentina Yegorova  Unified Team (EUN)
 Russia (RUS)
1992–1996 1 1 0 2
2 Rosa Mota  Portugal (POR) 1984–1988 1 0 1 2
3 Catherine Ndereba  Kenya (KEN) 2004–2008 0 2 0 2
4 Yuko Arimori  Japan (JPN) 1992–1996 0 1 1 2

Medals by country[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Japan (JPN) 2 1 1 4
2  Ethiopia (ETH) 2 0 1 3
3  Kenya (KEN) 1 3 1 5
4  Romania (ROM) 1 1 0 2
5=  Portugal (POR) 1 0 1 2
5=  United States (USA) 1 0 1 2
7  Unified Team (EUN) 1 0 0 1
8  Russia (RUS) 0 1 1 2
9=  Australia (AUS) 0 1 0 1
9=  Norway (NOR) 0 1 0 1
9=  Bahrain (BRN) 0 1 0 1
12=  China (CHN) 0 0 1 1
12=  East Germany (GDR) 0 0 1 1
12=  New Zealand (NZL) 0 0 1 1

Intercalated Games[edit]

The 1906 Intercalated Games were held in Athens and at the time were officially recognised as part of the Olympic Games series, with the intention being to hold a games in Greece in two-year intervals between the internationally held Olympics. However, this plan never came to fruition and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) later decided not to recognise these games as part of the official Olympic series. Some sports historians continue to treat the results of these games as part of the Olympic canon.[13]

At this event a men's marathon was held over 41.86 km and Canada's Billy Sherring won the competition. John Svanberg, the runner-up in the 1906 5-mile race, was also runner-up in the marathon. American William Frank was the bronze medalist.[14]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1906 Athens
details
 Billy Sherring (CAN)  John Svanberg (SWE)  William Frank (USA)

References[edit]

Participation and athlete data
Olympic record progressions
Specific
  1. ^ Athletics at the 1896 Athina Summer Games: Men's Marathon. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-03-12.
  2. ^ Athletics at the 1908 London Summer Games: Men's Marathon. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-03-12.
  3. ^ Athletics at the 1924 Paris Summer Games: Men's Marathon. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-03-12.
  4. ^ Longest Running Marathons. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2014-03-12.
  5. ^ Lovett, Charlie (1997). Prologue: The Legend. Marathon Guide. Retrieved on 2014-03-12.
  6. ^ "Marathon Race". Marathon Run Museum. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Mapping out the London Olympic Marathon course". The AZ Blog. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Visualizing the Rio Olympic Marathon Course". Runner's World. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  9. ^ Butler, Mark, ed. (2011). 13th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Daegu 2011 (PDF). Monaco: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. pp. 595, 612, 614–615, 705, 707. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 1, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  10. ^ The IOC attributes Théato's medal to France, despite later sources finding that his nationality was Luxembourgish.
  11. ^ Corey is described in the 1904 Games report as a "Frenchman wearing the colors of the Chicago Athletic Association", but the IOC attributes his medal to the United States.
  12. ^ a b Both Sohn Kee-chung (Son Kitei) and Nam Sung-yong (Nan Shoryu) were from Korea. The IOC attributes both medals to Japan due to Korea being a Japanese colony at the time. All Korean Olympians during the Japanese colonial rule could only participate in the games as a representative of Japan and had to compete with Japanese names instead of their original Korean names. However, some sources still refer to Son Kitei as the first Korean to win an Olympic marathon today.
  13. ^ 1906 Athina Summer Games. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-01-26.
  14. ^ Athletics at the 1906 Athina Summer Games: Men's Marathon. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-03-12.

External links[edit]