Athletics At the 1956 Summer Olympics - Men's 800 Metres
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Athletics At the 1956 Summer Olympics %E2%80%93 Men's 800 Metres
|Men's 800 metres|
at the Games of the XVI Olympiad
|Dates||November 23 (heats)|
November 24 (semifinals)
November 26 (final)
These are the official results of the Men's 800 metres event at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. There were a total number of 38 competitors.
This one Olympiad saw the use of starting blocks from a waterfall start for the 800 meters. All subsequent races have used a standing start in lanes, breaking after the first turn (known as a one turn stagger). Out of the blocks, Tom Courtney got the edge around the turn, but by the end of the turn Arnie Sowell edged into the lead. Over the next 150 metres, Sowell opened up as much as a three-metre lead, but Courney didn't go away. He bided his time for the next lap working his way back to Sowell's shoulder into the final turn and he brought Audun Boysen and Derek Johnson with him. Coming off the final turn it was the two Americans shoulder to shoulder, Sowell on the inside and Courtney on the outside looking like they would fight each other to the finish line like so many domestic races earlier in the season. Johnson had other ideas, squeezing between the two and into daylight. Again Courtney didn't go away, instead accelerating to keep pace, then with a final burst of speed, passing Johnson 20 metres before the tape to take the gold. Boysen followed Courtney past Sowell to narrowly capture bronze.
Five heats were held, the fastest three of each would qualify for the semifinals.
Two semifinals were held, the fastest four of each would qualify for the final.