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The Historic Series on Olympic Running (IX): Men’s 3000m steeplechase

Bronze medals for Alfred Dompert and Frank Baumgartl


In just about a week the Olympic Games will be opening in Athens. Until then we will finish introducing the last three of the eleven running disciplines, as well as naming the favourites for the Olympic gold medals.
This series, however, is on the history of Olympic running—about the past, rich in medals, of the German track and field athletes from both East (GDR) and West (FRG) in the events starting at 800m.

While in the past, German track and field athletes have been very successful at the Olympic Games, following the results of the world championships in Paris in 2003, one should not expect too much in Athens.
It seems even more appropriate then to remember the great achievements of the Germans in the past and to honour their performances.
Today we will continue with men’s 3000m steeplechase.
This series on the history of Olympic running will follow the weekly series on running which focuses on Athens 2004 —out of respect for the great achievements and as an inspiration for imitation.

The steeplechase has been part of the Olympic Games since Paris in 1900.
The first three times that the steeplechase was run at the Games, the distance was not exactly 3000m. In 1900 in Paris there were two steeplechase races, 2500m and 4000m, in 1904 in St. Louis it was 2590m and in London 3200m.
In 1912 in Stockholm the steeplechase did not take place at all, and the series of the 3000m steeplechase as it is known today only began again in Antwerp in 1920.

3000m steeplechase – at first the distance for the Brits – ahead of the Finns – but now it’s Kenya’s turn.

Since 1968 with the exception of 1976 and 1980, the 3000 m steeplechase has been in the hand of the Kenyans.
In 1992, all three medals went to runners from Kenya (like in 1900 from Great Britain, in 1928 from Finland and in 1948 from Sweden), and in the other years there were almost always 2 runners from Kenya among the three medal winners.

The runners from Kenya won seven gold, six silver and one bronze medal (a total of 14), the Brits have a total of 12 medals with 4 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze ahead of the Finns and the USA with 9 medals each (Gold medals: Finland 4 and the USA 3).

The 69 medals are distributed among 17 countries.

The German have achieved great accomplishments in the steeplechase with one world champion (Patriz Ilg 1982) and two European champions (Hagen Melzer 1986 and Damian Kallabis 1998), but not at the Olympic Games.

Bronze medals in 1936 by Alfred Dompert and in 1976 by Frank Baumgartl.>br> 14 top ten finals finishes are included in the list of successes of the German steeplechase runners.

Germany: 0 Gold / 0 Silver / 2 x Bronze / 1 x 4th place/ 2 x 5th place / 5 x 6th place / 1 x 8th place / 1 x 9th place /2 x 10th place

KEN: 7 G / 6 S /1 B
GBR: 4 G/ 6 S / 3 B
FIN: 4 G /3 S / 2 B
USA: 3 G / 0 S / 6 B
SWE: 2 G / 1 S / 1 B
POL: 1 G / 1 S
BEL: 1 G
IRL: 0 G / 1 S
URS: 0 G / 2 S / 2 B
FRA: 0 G / 1 S / 2 B
HUN: 0 G / 1 S
TAN: 0 G / 1 S
ITA: 0 G / 0 S / 2 B
MAR: 0 G / 0 S / 1 B
ETH: 0 G / 0 S / 1 B
NOR: 0 G / 0 S / 1 B

Paris 1900 – 2500 m steeplechase – Franz Duhne 6th

The US American George Orton was a steeplechase specialist. He was USA champion 7 times and one-time English champion. In Paris, the various elements of the steeplechase, the hurdles, water pit, stone walls, etc., were set up randomly.

Finals (July 15)
1. George Orton (USA) 7:34.2 - 2. Sidney Robinson (GBR) 7:38.0) 3. Jacques Chastanié (FRA) – (no time) - ... ... 6. Franz Duhne (no time)

Paris 1900 – 4000 m steeplechase – another 6th-place finish for Franz Duhne

The American Orton had hoped to win both distances, but he became ill in the night from Sunday to Monday. He ran anyway, but in the final phase he fell back and had to watch the Brits enjoy their triple victory.

Finals (July 16)
1. John Rimmer (GBR) 12:58.4 – 2. Charles Bennett (GBR) 12:58.8 – 3. Sidney Robinson (GBR) 12:58.8 - 4. Jacques Chastanié (FRA) (no time) – 5. George Orton (USA) (no time) – 6. Franz Duhne (no time)

St. Louis 1904 – 2500 m steeplechase – Lightbody wins the steeplechase and the 1500m

John J. Daly of Ireland was in America when he heard about the Olympic Games in St. Louis. He was a one and four-mile runner, and he signed up to run the steeplechase. The race on a grass track included 3 hurdles and a water pit. Lightbody had never before run the steeplechase. Daly led at first, but light-footed Lightbody passed him and won. There were no German runners competing.

Finals (August 29)
1. James Lightbody (USA) 7:39.6- 2. John Daly (IRL) (no time) – 3. Arthur Newton (USA) (no time)

London 1908 – 3200 m steeplechase – Double victory for Great Britain

In London, the steeplechase distance was still 3200m. There were 6 preliminary races. The defending champion from the USA, Lightbody, was eliminated in the 6th preliminary. The 22-year-old Brit, Russell, who was the British champion in the 2-mile steeplechase in 1904, 1905 and 1906 won. There were no German runners competing.

Finals (July 18)
1. Arthur Russell (GBR) 10:47.8 – 2. Arthur Robertson (GBR) 10:48.8 – 3. J.L.Eisele (USA) 11:00.8

Stockholm 1912 – No steeplechase in Stockholm

Antwerp 1920 – The Brit Hodge wins on a grass track

The now standard 3000m steeplechase was first introduced to the Olympic programme in Antwerp. The (unofficial) world record of 9:49.8 was set by Josef Ternström (SWE) in Malmö on July 4, 1914. The Brit Percy Hodge won easily in Antwerp with a 50m lead. There were 4 preliminary races. There were no German runners competing.

Finals (August 20)
1.Percy Hodge (GBR) 10:00.4 (OR) – 2. Patrick Flynn (USA) (no time) – 3. Ernesto Ambrosine (ITA) (no time)

Paris 1924 – Ville Ritola, the multi-talent, won gold with little technique

Paris was a golden vein for the Finns. Nurmi and Ritola cleaned up together. Ritola was second in the 5000m, he won the 10,000m, as well as the 10,650m cross country race with Nurmi, and the 3000m team race with Nurmi and Elias Katz. Nurmi had already won the 1500m. Halonen came in 4th in the marathon, and the only final race that did not include any Finns was the 800m—an excellent running nation!

Ritola won the 3000m steeplechase thanks to his superior running rather than to any technique, ahead of his fellow countryman Katz. There were 3 preliminaries with a total of nine participants. All nine also ran the finals.

Finals (July 9):
1. Ville Ritola (FIN) 9.33.6 (OR) – 2. Elias Katz (FIN) 9:44.0 – 3. Paul Bontemps (FRA) 9:45.2

Amsterdam 1928 – 3 Finns – 3 Medals – the Finish Games

The results from Paris were pretty much repeated in Amsterdam. The team race and cross country races were eliminated in Amsterdam and the current middle and long distance programme began.

The Finns again did not have any 800m runners in the finals, but got gold in the 1500m (Harri Larva), the 5000m (Ritola), and the 10,000m (Nurmi), and bronze in the marathon with Martti Marttelin.
Then there was a complete victory for the Finns in the 3000m steeplechase who took all 3 medals. Ekkehard zur Megede wrote: “Nurmi like a wet poodle. The steeplechase was a real steeplechase for Nurmi. With no hurdling technique, the great Finn already landed in the water pit in the preliminaries.”

Nurmi was only beaten by his fellow countryman Loukola, who had excellent technique and was a steeplechase specialist. The runners had to master the water pit 7 times and the hurdles a total of 28 times. Nurmi took the hurdles as if he was competing in the amateur high jump, and he took a dive in the water pit in the finals as well. But due to his excellent running abilities, he was still able to come in second, while the defending champion Ritola dropped out. He still held the unofficial world record of 9:33.6. There were no German runners competing.

Finals ( July 29):
1. Toivo Loukola (FIN) 9:21.8 (OR) – 2. Paavo Nurmi (FIN) 9:31.2 – 3. Ove Andersen (FIN) 9:35.6

Los Angeles 1932 – Finland ahead again – but they ran one lap too many

The Finns again had 3 runners in the finals in Los Angeles (2 preliminaries) but they ”only“ took first, fourth and ninth place!

The Olympic record was broken in the preliminaries by Iso-Hollo in 9:14.6. But in the finals the lap counter miscounted and the runners ran one extra lap to 3460m. The extra lap was no problem for Iso-Hollo, who already had the silver medal in the 10,000m in his pocket. The American, who later was came in third, was in second place at the actual finish. The unofficial world record was held by George Lermond (USA) in 9:08.4 (Cambridge 18.06.1932). There were no German runners competing.

Finals: (August 6):
1. Volmari Iso-Hollo (FIN) 10:33.4 – 2. Thomas Evenson (GBR) 10:46.0 – 3. Joseph McCluskey (USA) 10:46.2

Berlin 1936 – Alfred Dompert with the bronze medal – behind two Finns

If the statistics are correct, the first German runners to compete in the steeplechase again since Franz Duhne in 1900 in Paris were in 1936. There were three Germans in the preliminaries, two of whom made it to the finals (Raff dropped out in the third preliminary).
The great sensation was made by Alfred Dompert (b. December 23, 1914). He was nominated even though he dropped out in the 1500m and did not participate at all in the steeplechase in the German Championships. He had only participated in one 3000m steeplechase race, two years previously, in a time of 9:37.8. Dompert thrilled the spectators in the first preliminary by winning in 9:27.2, putting the silver medallist from Los Angeles, Evenson, behind him.
Megede wrote: “The 100,000 spectators in the Olympic stadium went crazy. They screamed and yelled until they were hoarse, cheering on their fellow countryman, who went beyond his abilities with no excuse. He sprinted like he was possessed...and even the most lethargic rose from their seats during this battle.
The defending champion, Iso-Hollo, had won with a new Olympic record time, which was also a new unofficial world record. Dompert had improved his time by an entire 20 seconds. The man from Stuttgart collapsed in exhaustion after crossing the finish. Dompert’s medal was the only one won by a German running in the individual races in Berlin. The Finns again landed a double victory, a third Finn came in 4th, and the second German came in 9th in the finals.

Finals (August 8):
1. Volmari Iso-Hollo (FIN) 9:03.8 (OR) – 2. Kaarlo Tuominen (FIN) 9:06.8 – 3. Alfred Dompert 9:07.2 ... ... 9. Wilhelm Heyn 9:26.4

London 1948 – The Swedes take over the Steeplechase sceptre

The rule of the Finns ended in London, but their Swedish neighbours took over the sceptre. Erik Elmsäter was the first one to break the 9 minute mark on August 4, 1944 with a time of 8:59.6, but then became seriously ill. The finals in London included 3 Swedes, 3 Frenchmen and 2 Finns. The three Swedes achieved the great accomplishment of taking home all three gold medals. On September 12, the winner Sjöstrand became the second runner to beat 9 minutes, in 8:59.8. The Germans were not yet readmitted to the Olympic Games in 1948.

Finals (August 5):
1. Tore Sjöstrand (SWE) 9:04.6 – 2. Erik Elmsäter (SWE) 9:08.2 – 3. Göte Hagström (SWE) 9:11.8

Helsinki 1952 – Günther Hesselmann sixth – Helmut Gude eighth

A new era in the steeplechase was rung in in the pre-Olympic year 1951, when Wladimir Kasanzew broke the world record on July 10th in only 8:49.8 in Moscow. In 1950 he only ran 9:13.8. With his fellow countryman Saltykow he catapulted himself into the role of the favourite for Helsinki. The German Olympic hopeful was Helmut Gude from Esslingen. At the German Championships in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin he won in a world-class time of 8.50.0.

The brothers William and Horace Ashenfelter qualified for Helsinki at the US Trials with times of 9:06.4 and 9:07.1. The sensation happened in the preliminaries. Kasanzew had qualified with a time of 8:58, John Disley (GBR) won the second preliminary in 8:59.4 and Rinteenpää came in second in 8:59.4—all under 9 minutes. William Ashenfelter dropped out in the first preliminary while his brother Horace almost ran a new world record in the third preliminary in 8:51.0, putting the Russian Saltykow behind him.
Horace („Nip“) Ashenfelter, 1.78m, 66kg, FBI agent and father of three sons played baseball and football as a youth, and ran his first steeplechase in 1959.
In the finals, Saltykow first took the lead for Kasanzew. Megede wrote: “The Russian entered the last water pit first, but at that moment Ashenfelter sprinted past like one possessed and Kasanzew was beaten. While the outsider crossed the finish in a new world record time of 8:45.4, the resigned Kasanzew was in danger of losing the silver medal to John Disley, who though began his finish too late to take it away from Wladimir Kasanzew.
Helmut Gude was not in his best form in Helsinki; Günther Hesselmann took over, earning a good 6th place finish in 8:55.8.

Finals (July 25):
1. Horace Ashenfelter (USA) 8:45.4 (WR) – 2. Wladimir Kasanzew (URS) 8:51.6 – 3. John Disley (GBR) 8:51.8 – 4. Olavi Rinteenpää (FIN) 8:55.2 – 5. Curt Söderberg (SWE) 8:55.6 - 6. Günther Hesselmann 8:55.8 – 7. Michael Saltykow (URS) 8:56.2 – 8. Helmut Gude 9:01.4 ... ... 11. Christopher Brasher (GBR) 9:14.0

Melbourne 1956 – Heinz Laufer fourth – Brasher “With his head through the wall”
(Excurse on John Disley and Chris Brasher)

Ekkehard zur Megede wrote the following about the 3000m steeplechase in Melbourne in his “History of Olympic Track and Field“ (Die Geschichte der Olympischen Leichtathletik):

“Christopher W. Brasher (b. August 21, 1928 in Georgetown/British-Guayana) had a hard scull, both literally and analytically. He lived with his parents in Jerusalem as a child, where his father had a position in the duty of the colony. One day Chris and another child, neither yet of school age, decided to have a race. Running around they decided on the goal. “Whoever gets to the wall over there first,“ Chris said, pointing to a wall about 50 metres away, “wins.”
As fast as they could, they ran to the wall. Chris had a small lead and defended it with all of the determination and will that such a small body can have. The little British boy had not thought a second about starting to brake before reaching the wall. He hit it at full speed. Of course he won his private duel, but he also won much more: experience. And the blood that flowed out of a deep wound on his head and later from his bandages reminded him for years to come that there are some disadvantages of trying to “put your head through the wall.”
But one thing fascinated Chris Brasher much more about his first race: running. His parents then moved back to their homeland, Great Britain.
Chris continued to enjoy running. Maybe he even thought that if there are hindrances in the way, maybe he should overcome them rather than trying to go through them. It was no wonder that Brasher thus became a hurdler. He was not one to take on the world, but rather a runner willing to try new ways. Like on May 6, 1954 in Oxford, when he and Chataway helped their friend Roger Bannister on his way to the ”dream mile“.
Regarding the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Brasher did as his trainer Franz Stampfl told him: “Don’t worry about winning any races in the summer season. Wait for the all-important Olympic Games!”
Brasher was 11th in Helsinki, in Melbourne he won. But he was disqualified after his victory, as he supposedly hindered the Norwegian Ernst Larsen while he was taking over the lead on the last lap. The Norwegian said, however, that he did not feel like he had been hindered. Thus Heinz Laufer (b. May 23, 1925 in Schwenningen) had to give back his bronze medal (finishing in a very good 8:44.4).
John Disley, the bronze medal winner from Melbourne, came in 6th in 8:44.6.
The surprise winner in Helsinki, Ashenfelter, ran the same preliminary time he did 4 years previously (8:51.0) but this time it was not good enough to make the finals.
The finals in Melbourne and Helsinki have been presented here more thoroughly (as an excurse) because the athletes John Disley and Chris Brasher, who later became the founders of the London Marathon, naturally have an affinity for the real,- BERLIN MARATHON.
Ekkehard zur Megede presented Chris Brasher as he was during the rest of his successful life.

Chris Brasher passed away last year. On June 20, 2004 the “Chris Brasher Memorial 10K“ was held in Richmond Park in London with thousands of participants who collected money for a non-profit organisation, the “Petersham Trust“. The evening before the race, his son Hugh organised a fund raising dinner, which was attended by Sir Roger Bannister, Sir Chris Chataway, Lord Sebastian Coe and John Disley, CBS, and more honorary guests who had been ennobled by the queen—including many famous runners whose names have been listed here already.

In a few weeks at the 31st real,- BERLIN MARATHON, John Disley will be in Berlin with his wife Sylvia as the official course surveyor. For the past few years it has been part of the traditional course of events that once he, as the representative from IAAF/AIMS, supervised the correctness of the course, that he also gave the race director the respective certificates recognizing the great times and world records after the race.

Finals (November 29):
1. Christopher Brasher (GBR) 8:41.2 (OR) – 2. Sandor Rozsnyoi(HUN) 8:43.6 – 3. Ernst Larsen (NOR) 8:44.0 – 4. Heinz Laufen 8:44.4 – 5. Semjon Rshischtschin (URS) 8:44.6 – 6. John Disley (GBR) 8:44.6

Rom 1960 - Ludwig Müller 6th - Hans Hüneke dropped out - Buhl eliminated in the preliminaries

Gaston Roelants (BEL) caught the German record holder (8.34.0) Hermann Buhl in the preliminaries on the finish line and made it to the finals instead of him. However, Ludwig Müller – the “hero from Augsburg“ who was famous for his victory in the international match against the USSR, and Hans Hüneke made it to the finals. Three Soviet runners, who were hoping for a triple victory, also made it to the finals. The Polish world record holder, however, thwarted their efforts. Ludwig Müller came in 6th and Hans Hüneke dropped out.

Finals (September 3):
1. Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak (POL) 8:34.2 (OR) – 2. Nikolai Sokolow (URS) 8:36.4 – 3. Semjon Rshischtschin (URS) 8:42.2 – 4. Gaston Roelants (BEL) 8:47.6 ... ... 6. Ludwig Müller 9:01.6

Tokyo 1964 – Three German runners did not make it past the preliminaries

Gaston Roelants, who was 4th in Rome, had since become the new world record holder in 8:29.6 (in Löwen on September 9, 1963). He wanted to top his world record in Tokyo with a gold medal.

Roelants had suffered his last defeat at the ISTAF in Berlin in 1961 in a Belgium national-record-time of 8:43.2 behind the American Charles Jones—his last defeat until Tokyo. In the preliminaries he ran a safe time to second, but he knew it would be a good race, with the winner of his preliminary, the Russian Aleksejunas, setting a new Olympic record in 8:31.8. Since he was not a great sprinter, Roelants kept up the pace from the beginning and soon had a 50 metre lead as they entered the last lap. Although he did not have the power to set a new world record due to his constant work at the front, he did set a new Olympic record. The Brit Maurice Herriott ran a thrilling fight for the silver medal—according to Megede, “with a British fighting spirit like Brasher 4 years previously.”

Finals (October 17):
1. Gaston Roelants (BEL) 8:30.8 (OR) – 2. Maurice Herriott (GBR) 8:32.4 - 3. Iwan Beljajew (URS) 8:33.8 – 4. Manuel Oliveira (POR) 8:36.2 – 5. George Young (USA) 8:38.2

Mexico 1968 – Three German runners in the preliminaries – Kenya begins panning for gold

Megede wrote a few interesting and amusing words about Amos Kipwabok Biwott (b. September 8,1947 in Uasin Gishu, 1.81m, 66 kg): "Since no one had clearly explained the difference between the preliminaries and the finals, Biwott took off in the preliminaries and soon led by 100m. He kept up the pace and won in 8:49.4. His technique, if one could call it that, over the water pit also amazed the spectators.”
According to Megede, he supposedly said: “If you have been given your first pair of shoes, you don’t want to get them wet immediately”!
He crossed the water pit more like a triple jumper. He made the crowds stare in the finals as well, when he reached the water pit and did “hop-step-jump“ technique, but he somehow always made it over. In the finals he was in the mid field, much slower than in the preliminaries. Roelants, the defending champion, tried to take the lead, and no one paid much heed to Biwott. At the last water pit Biwott picked up the pace and sprinted like the devil, passing the favourites O’Brien and Young before and after the last hurdle, and on the last metres passed the leader Kogo, a fellow Kenyan.

In the preliminaries Biwott ran the last 1000m in 3:00.6, in the finals in only 2:45.0 – he must have been flying ... There was a double victory for Kenya—and the start of a long winning series for the men from Africa.
The defending champion Gaston Roelants went down in the final race and only came in 7th.

Finals (October 13):
1.Amos Biwott (KEN) 8:51.0 – 2. Benjamin Kogo (KEN) 8:51.6 – 3. George Young (USA) 8:51.8

Munich 1972 – Another double victory for Kenya – three German runners did not qualify for the finals

In Munich, the Kenyans repeated their double victory. But this time a 1500m runner—the Olympic champion from Mexico, Kipchoge Keino. He had actually planned on running the 1500m and 5000m or 10,000m, but the timing of the races did not make that possible. So he decided to run the steeplechase instead.
The Germans were eliminated in the preliminaries: Willi Maier in 8:37.6 in 4th place in the second preliminary; Willi Wagner in 8:34.0 in 6th place in the 3rd preliminary; and Hans-Dieter Schulten in 8:39.8 in 6th place in the 4th preliminary.

The finals started out not any faster than a marathon, according to “Leichtathletik“. Three Finns and three Kenyans are in the finals, but no one wanted to set the pace. Biwott, "the jumping wonder“ and champion from Mexico is there again. A record time had been expected, but the opposite was the case. After the last water pit the Finn Kantanen took off, but Keino pulled up suddenly from the background and ran to victory. Ben Jipcho started his sprint too late, but was still able to catch Kantanen – another double victory for Kenya.

Finals (September 4):
1. Kipchoge Keino (KEN) 8:23.6 (OR) – 2. Benjamin Jipcho (KEN) 8:24.6 – 3. Tapio Kantanen (FIN) 8:24.8 – 4. Bronislaw Malinowski (POL) 8:28.0 ... ... 6. Amos Biwott (KEN) 8:33.6

Montreal 1976 – Frank Baumgartl with the bronze medal – Michael Karst fifth

Willi Maier came in ninth in the 1st preliminary in 8:44.82, while Gerd Frähmcke had the bad luck of tearing his Achilles tendon after his jump over the water pit three rounds before the finish.
But two German runners still made it to the finals. Frank Baumgartl lay even with Gärderud, who won in a new world record time, up to the last hurdle. He caught his back leg on the hurdle, fell, jumped up quickly and saved the bronze medal with his great sprint...maybe he would have had a chance against the Swedish world record holder ...

Michael Karst had been injured for a long time and it took a while for him to get back in shape. He ran a smart race, kept in the mid field but he was not able to close the gap to the leading group. But he ran a good 5th place finish. No Kenyans were to be seen in Montreal as the Africans had boycotted the Games.
Nine runners stayed under Keino’s Olympic record of 8:23.6 from Munich.

Finals (July 28):
1. Andres Gärderud (SWE) 8:08.02 (WR/OR) – 2. Bronislaw Malinowski (POL) 8:09.11 – 3. Frank Baumgartl 8:10.36 – 4. Tapio Kantanen (FIN) 8:12.60 – 5. Michael Karst 8:20.14

Moscow 1980 – Malinowski wins gold - Pönitzsch only in the preliminaries

The silver medallist from Montreal finally became champion: Bronislaw Malinowski (POL), fourth in Munich and 2-time European champion (1974 and 1978), crowned his career with a gold medal in Moscow. Ralf Pönitzsch, in ninth place with a time of 8:56.5, did not survive the preliminaries. There were two intermediate races in Moscow. Wolfgang Konrad (AUT) came in 4th in the 1st preliminary in 8:25.0, but did not survive the 2nd intermediates where he came in 10th in 8:51.6.

Finals (July 31):
1. Bronislaw Malinowski (POL) 8:09.7 – 2. Filbert Bayi (TAN) 8:12.5 - 3. Eshetu Tura (ETH) 8:13.6

Los Angeles 1984 – Another victory for Kenya by Korir

In Los Angeles there were no German runners at the start. The runners from Kenya returned to victory with the superior runner, Julius Korir. Brian Diemer won the bronze medal in front of a home crowd, taking the medal from another favourite, Henry Marsh.

Finals (August 10):
1. Julius Korir (KEN) 8:11.80 – 2. Joseph Mahmoud (FRA) 8:13.31 – 3. Brian Diemer (USA) 8:14:08 – 4. Henry Marsh (USA) 8:14:25

Seoul 1988 – Hagen Melzer tenth – Jens Volkmann in the intermediates

Kenya accomplished another double victory with Kariuki and Koech, taking home the fourth gold medal for Kenya in the steeplechase.
Jens Volksmann (SCC Berlin), with a time of 8:36.37 in the preliminaries, made it to the intermediates. He came in 8th there in 8:25.19.
Hagen Melzer finished 10th in the finals in a time of 8:19.82.

Finals (September 30):
1. Julius Kariuki (KEN) 8:05.51 – 2. Peter Koech (KEN) 8:06.79 – 3. Mark Rowland (GBR) 8:07.96 ... ... 10. Hagen Melzer 8:19.82

Barcelona 1992 – Steffen Brand is 5th – Hagen Melzer in the semi-finals

The Kenyans filled the top three spots in the finals. Hagen Melzer ran 8:31.89 in the preliminaries, but in the second semi-finals he came in 11th in 8:38.07.
The big positive surprise was the 27-year-old medical student Steffen Brand (TV Wattenscheid). He almost went “swimming” in the second to last water pit, but the last lap went better for him and he came in an excellent and unexpected 5th place.

Finals (July 31):
1. Mathew Birir (KEN) 8:08.84 – 2. Patrick Sang (KEN) 8:09.55 – 3. William Mutwol (KEN) 8:10.74 – 4. Alessandro Lambruschini (ITA) 8:15.52 – 5. Steffen Brand 8:16.60

Atlanta 1996 – Steffen Brand sixth - Martin Strege tenth

Two German runners made it to the finals, Steffen Brand and Martin Strege, where they fought well. Steffen Brand almost repeated his results from Barcelona and was 6th in 8:18.52. Martin Strege came in 10th in the finals in 8:30.31. Kim Bauermeister ran 8:36.86 in the preliminaries and came in 12th in the intermediates in 8:51.83.
The runners from Kenya again had a double victory, and their third runner came in fourth.

1. Joseph Keter (KEN) 8:07.12 - 2. Moses Kiptanui (KEN) 8:08.33 – 3. Sandro Lambruschini (ITA) 8:11.28 – 4. Matthew Birir (KEN) 8:17.18 – 5. Mark Croghan (USA) 8:17.84 6. Steffen Brand 8:18.52 - ... ...10. Martin Strege 8:30.31

Sydney 2000 – Damian Kallabis fell on the first hurdle

The European champion Damian Kallabis (SCC Berlin) fell on the first hurdle in the finals. As fifth in his preliminary in 8:24.48 he had just made it to the finals. He was not able to get back into his run after the fall, even though he only lost 10m, and finished in a disappointing 15th place in 9:09.

It was a slow pace, nothing to compare with the finals in either Atlanta or Barcelona. Again Kenya left with a double victory, as well as a fourth-place finish for the third Kenyan runner.

1. Reuben Kosgei (KEN) 8:21.43 – 2. Wilson Boit Kipketer (KEN) 8:21.77 – 3. Ali Ezzine (MAR) 8:22.15 – 4. Bernard Barmasai (KEN) 8:22.23 ... ... 15. Damian Kallabis 9:09.78

With fourteen top ten places since Paris in 1900, the German’s steeplechase results at the Olympic Games is slightly better than for the 10,000m. In order to be “satisfied”, however, an Olympic gold or silver medal is still missing. The world champion and European champion titles suggest that the German runners could do better.
As the past has shown, often there were no German participants at all, or if they were present they did not make it to the finals. As things are looking, unfortunately, the record will not get any better in the next few years.

Horst Milde

Interesting tips and supplementary information on the great Olympic history of the addressed topics may be sent to:
Women’s 800m (Historic Olympic Series I):
Men’s 1500m (Historic Olympic Series II:)
Men’s 800m (Historic Olympic Series III):
Women’s 1500m (Historic Olympic Series IV):
Women’s 5000m (Historic Olympic Series V):
Mens 5000m (Historic Olympic Series VI):
Womenss 10.000m (Historic Olympic Series VII):
Mens 10.000m (Historic Olympic Series VIII):

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Sponsoren des Avon Women's Race Berlin 2021 AVON AOK Tagesspiegel Erdinger Alkoholfrei adidas


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