Open Access Articles- Top Results for Athletics at the 1908 Summer Olympics %E2%80%93 Men%27s 1500 metres

Athletics at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's 1500 metres

Men's 1500 metres
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
VenueWhite City Stadium
DatesJuly 13 (semifinals)
July 14 (final)
Competitors44 from 15 nations
Gold medal  22x20px United States
Silver medal  22x20px Great Britain
Bronze medal  22x20px Great Britain
Athletics at the
1908 Summer Olympics
Track events
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The men's 1500 metres was an Olympic event for the fourth time at the 1908 Summer Olympics. The competition was held on July 13, 1908 and on July 14, 1908. The races were held on a track of 536.45 metres=13 mile in circumference. There were eight heats of the first round, with the winners of those heats competing in the final.

44 runners from 15 nations competed.


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1908 Summer Olympics.

World Record 3:59.8(*) 23x15px Harold Wilson London (GBR) May 30, 1908
Olympic Record 4:05.4(**) 23x15px James Lightbody St. Louis (USA) September 3, 1904

(*) unofficial

(**) This track was 536.45 metres=13 mile in circumference.

In the second semifinal Mel Sheppard set a new Olympic record with 4:05.0 minutes only to be improved in the next run by Norman Hallows who ran 4:03.4 minutes. In the final Mel Sheppard equalized this time when he also ran 4:03.4 minutes.



The semifinals of the 1500 metres were the first competitions of the athletics programme held, on Monday, July 13, 1908. The fastest runner in each semifinal heat advanced to the final the next day while all other runners were eliminated.

Semifinal 1

Meadows, de Fleurac, Smith, and Lightbody all had the lead during the race. Sullivan won by six yards.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px James Sullivan (USA) 4:07.6 Q
2 22x20px James Lightbody (USA) 4:08.6
3 22x20px Frederick Meadows (CAN) 4:12.2
4 22x20px Francis Knott (GBR) Unknown
5 22x20px Joseph M. Smith (GBR) Unknown
6 22x20px Louis de Fleurac (FRA) Unknown
7 22x20px Nils Dahl (NOR) Unknown
8 22x20px Ödön Bodor (HUN) Unknown
9 22x20px Jacques Keyser (NED) Unknown

Semifinal 2

Butterfield and Lee were ahead of Sheppard and Halstead at the bell, but the American pair proved the better runners on the straight and passed the English duo. Sheppard's time set a new Olympic record, with Halstead just behind him clocking in at the old record time.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px Mel Sheppard (USA) 4:05.0 OR Q
2 22x20px John Halstead (USA) 4:05.6
3 22x20px George Butterfield (GBR) 4:11.8
4 22x20px John W. Lee (GBR) (4:12.4)
5 22x20px Joseph Lynch (ANZ) Unknown
6 22x20px Kjeld Nielsen (DEN) Unknown
7 22x20px Arno Hesse (GER) Unknown

Semifinal 3

Lunghi was passed by Hallows on the last lap, who won by two yards. Both Hallows and Lunghi beat the Olympic record set by Sheppard in the previous heat; the pace caused the remaining four competitors to drop out.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px Norman Hallows (GBR) 4:03.4 OR Q
2 22x20px Emilio Lunghi (ITA) 4:03.8
22x20px Evert Björn (SWE) Did not finish
22x20px Massimo Cartasegna (ITA) Did not finish
22x20px Frank Riley (USA) Did not finish
22x20px Charles Swain (ANZ) Did not finish

Semifinal 4

McGough led for the greater part of the race, with Loney and Coe passing him late and battling to the finish. Loney won by two yards.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px Vincent Loney (GBR) 4:08.4 Q
2 22x20px Harry Coe (USA) 4:09.2
3 22x20px John McGough (GBR) 4:16.4
4 22x20px Stefanos Dimitrios (GRE) Unknown
5 22x20px Joseph Dreher (FRA) Unknown

Semifinal 5

Raugeneau dropped out on the second lap. Tait won by fifty yards.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px John Tait (CAN) 4:12.2 Q
2 22x20px József Nagy (HUN) 4:19.6
3 22x20px Fredrik Svanström (FIN) 4:25.2
22x20px Gaston Ragueneau (FRA) Did not finish

Semifinal 6

Deakin won by seventy-five yards.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px Joe Deakin (GBR) 4:13.6 Q
2 22x20px Andreas Breynck (GER) 4:30.0
3 22x20px Arie Vosbergen (NED) 4:38.6

Semifinal 7

Galbraith led most of the race, but was passed by Wilson, who won by 30 yards.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px Harold Wilson (GBR) 4:11.4 Q
2 22x20px Jean Bouin (FRA) 4:17.0
3 22x20px William Galbraith (CAN) 4:20.2

Semifinal 8

Braun, Dahl, and Crawford were the clear frontrunners for the entire race. Crawford pulled in front late, and won by four yards.

Place Athlete Time Qual.
1 22x20px Ivo Fairbairn-Crawford (GBR) 4:09.2 Q
2 22x20px Edward Dahl (SWE) 4:10.4
3 22x20px Hanns Braun (GER) 4:18.2
4 22x20px Oscar Larsen (NOR) Unknown
5 22x20px François Delloye (BEL) Unknown
6 22x20px Axel Andersson (SWE) Unknown
7 22x20px John E. Fitzgerald (CAN) Unknown


The final was held on Tuesday, July 14, 1908.

Crawford went out fast, leading for the first 500 metres before tiring badly. Wilson, Hallows, and Sheppard led out going into the final straight, but Sheppard's late burst powered him to the front. He won by about 2 yards and equalled the Olympic record that Hallows had set in the first round.

File:1908 Mel Sheppard.JPG
Mel Sheppard winning the final.

Place Athlete Time
1 22x20px Mel Sheppard (USA) 4:03.4 EOR
2 22x20px Harold Wilson (GBR) 4:03.6
3 22x20px Norman Hallows (GBR) 4:04.0
4 22x20px John Tait (CAN) 4:06.8
5 22x20px Ivo Fairbairn-Crawford (GBR) 4:07.6
6 22x20px Joe Deakin (GBR) 4:07.9
22x20px Vincent Loney (GBR) Did not finish
22x20px James Sullivan (USA) Did not finish


  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report. London: British Olympic Association. 
  • De Wael, Herman (2001). "Athletics 1908". Herman's Full Olympians. Retrieved 30 July 2006. 
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in polski). Retrieved 30 July 2006.