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800 Metres

800 metres
800 metres final in Daegu 2011.
Men's records
World David Rudisha 1:40.91 (2012)
Olympic David Rudisha 1:40.91 (2012)
Women's records
World Jarmila Kratochvílová 1:53.28 (1983)
Olympic Nadezhda Olizarenko 1:53.43 (1980)

The 800 metres, or 800 meters (US spelling), is a common track running event. It is the shortest common middle-distance running event. The 800 metres is run over two laps of the track (400 metre track) and has been an Olympic event since the first games in 1896. During indoor track season the event is usually run on a 200-metre track, therefore requiring four laps.

The event was derived from the imperial measurement of a half a mile, a traditional English racing distance. Imperial racing distances were common in the United States. American high schools (in the name of the NFHS) were the last to convert to metric distances in 1980, following the NCAA's conversion in 1976. Countries associated to the English system converted to metric distances after the 1966 Commonwealth Games. 800 m is 4.67 m less than half a mile.

The event combines aerobic endurance with anaerobic conditioning and sprint speed. Both the aerobic and anaerobic systems are being taxed to a high extent, thus the 800 metre athlete is required to combine training between both systems.

Runners in this event are often fast enough to compete in the 400 metres and/or the 4 × 400 metres relay but only Alberto Juantorena and Jarmila Kratochvílová have won major international titles at 400 m and 800 m. If they are so inclined, 400 m runners are usually encouraged to run the 200 metres while 800 m runners are encouraged to run the 1500 metres.


  • Race tactics 1
  • All-time top 25 fastest 2
    • Men 2.1
    • Women 2.2
    • Juniors 2.3
  • Olympic medalists 3
    • Men 3.1
    • Women 3.2
  • World Championships medalists 4
    • Men 4.1
    • Women 4.2
  • Season's bests 5
    • Men 5.1
    • Women 5.2
  • References 6

Race tactics

The 800 m event is also known for its tactical racing techniques. Because the 800 m event is the shortest event that has all the runners converge on lane one, positioning on the cut-in is critical to the outcome of the race. It is commonly believed that getting the first or second position early in the race is advantageous as these positions are not usually caught up in the pack. Olympic champions Dave Wottle, Yuriy Borzakovskiy and others have defied that logic by running a more evenly paced race, lagging behind the pack and kicking past the slowing early leaders. Often the winner of 800 m races at high levels are not determined by the strongest runner but instead by the athlete with the best positioning near the end of the race. This can lead to the most exciting aspect of the 800 m which is its high probability of an upset.

All-time top 25 fastest


As of July 2015

Rank Time Athlete Nation Date Location Ref
1 1:40.91 David Rudisha  Kenya 9 August 2012 London [1]
2 1:41.11 Wilson Kipketer  Denmark 24 August 1997 Cologne
3 1:41.73 Sebastian Coe  United Kingdom 10 June 1981 Florence
Nijel Amos  Botswana 9 August 2012 London [1]
5 1:41.77 Joaquim Cruz  Brazil 26 August 1984 Cologne
6 1:42.23 Abubaker Kaki Khamis  Sudan 4 June 2010 Oslo [2]
7 1:42.28 Sammy Koskei  Kenya 26 August 1984 Cologne
8 1:42.34 Wilfred Bungei  Kenya 8 September 2002 Rieti
9 1:42.37 Mohammed Aman  Ethiopia 6 September 2013 Brussels [3]
10 1:42.47 Yuriy Borzakovskiy  Russia 24 August 2001 Brussels
11 1:42.51 Amel Tuka  Bosnia and Herzegovina 17 July 2015 Fontvieille [4]
13 1:42.53 Timothy Kitum  Kenya 9 August 2012 London
13 1:42.53 Pierre-Ambroise Bosse  France 18 July 2014 Fontvieille
14 1:42.55 André Bucher   Switzerland 17 August 2001 Zürich
15 1:42.58 Vebjørn Rodal  Norway 31 July 1996 Atlanta
16 1:42.60 Johnny Gray  United States 28 August 1985 Koblenz
17 1:42.62 Patrick Ndururi  Kenya 17 August 2001 Zurich
18 1:42.67 Alfred Kirwa Yego  Kenya 6 September 2009 Rieti
19 1:42.69 Hezekiél Sepeng  South Africa 3 September 2009 Brussels
20 1:42.69 Japheth Kimutai  Kenya 3 September 2009 Brussels
21 1:42.79 Frederick Onyancha  Kenya 31 July 1996 Atlanta
22 1:42.79 Yusuf Saad Kamel  Bahrain 29 July 2008 Fontvieille
23 1:42.81 Jean-Patrick Nduwimana  Burundi 17 August 2001 Zürich
24 1:42.82 Duane Solomon  United States 9 August 2012 London
25 1:42.84 Ferguson Rotich  Kenya 18 July 2014 Fontvieille


As of November 2014.

Rank Time Athlete Country Date Location Ref
1 1:53.28 Jarmila Kratochvílová  Czechoslovakia 26 July 1983 Munich
2 1:53.43 Nadezhda Olizarenko  Soviet Union 27 July 1980 Moscow
3 1:54.01 Pamela Jelimo  Kenya 29 August 2008 Zürich
4 1:54.44 Ana Fidelia Quirot  Cuba 9 September 1989 Barcelona
5 1:54.81 Olga Mineyeva  Soviet Union 27 July 1980 Moscow
6 1:54.94 Tatyana Kazankina  Soviet Union 26 July 1976 Montreal
7 1:55.05 Doina Melinte  Romania 1 August 1982 Bucharest
8 1:55.19 Maria de Lurdes Mutola  Mozambique 17 August 1994 Zürich
Jolanda Čeplak  Slovenia 20 July 2002 Heusden-Zolder
10 1:55.26 Sigrun Wodars  East Germany 31 August 1987 Rome
11 1:55.32 Christine Wachtel  East Germany 31 August 1987 Rome
12 1:55.42 Nikolina Shtereva  Bulgaria 26 July 1976 Rome
13 1:55.45 Caster Semenya  South Africa 19 August 2009 Berlin
14 1:55.46 Tatyana Providokhina  Soviet Union 27 July 1980 Moscow
15 1:55.54 Ellen Van Langen  Netherlands 3 August 1992 Barcelona
Dong Liu  China 9 August 1993 Beijing
17 1:55.56 Lyubov Gurina  Soviet Union 31 August 1987 Rome
18 1:55.60 Elfi Zinn  East Germany 26 July 1976 Montreal
19 1:55.68 Ella Kovacs  Romania 2 June 1985 Bucharest
20 1:55.69 Irina Podyalovskaya  Soviet Union 22 June 1984 Kyiv
21 1:55.74 Anita Weiss  East Germany 26 July 1976 Montreal
22 1:55.87 Svetlana Masterkova  Russia 18 June 1999 Moscow
Mariya Savinova  Russia 4 September 2011 Daegu
24 1:55.96 Lyudmila Veselkova  Soviet Union 8 September 1982 Athens
Yekaterina Podkopayeva  Soviet Union 27 July 1983 Leningrad


World junior records (19 and under) are held by Nijel Amos (1:41.73, London, 9 August 2012) and Pamela Jelimo (1:54.01, Zürich, 29 August 2008). Both marks coincidentally rank them as the third fastest ever.

Olympic medalists


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1896 Athens
 Edwin Flack (AUS)  Nándor Dáni (HUN)  Dimitrios Golemis (GRE)
1900 Paris
 Alfred Tysoe (GBR)  John Cregan (USA)  David Hall (USA)
1904 St. Louis
 James Lightbody (USA)  Howard Valentine (USA)  Emil Breitkreutz (USA)
1908 London
 Mel Sheppard (USA)  Emilio Lunghi (ITA)  Hanns Braun (GER)
1912 Stockholm
 Ted Meredith (USA)  Mel Sheppard (USA)  Ira Davenport (USA)
1920 Antwerp
 Albert Hill (GBR)  Earl Eby (USA)  Bevil Rudd (RSA)
1924 Paris
 Douglas Lowe (GBR)  Paul Martin (SUI)  Schuyler Enck (USA)
1928 Amsterdam
 Douglas Lowe (GBR)  Erik Byléhn (SWE)  Hermann Engelhard (GER)
1932 Los Angeles
 Tommy Hampson (GBR)  Alex Wilson (CAN)  Phil Edwards (CAN)
1936 Berlin
 John Woodruff (USA)  Mario Lanzi (ITA)  Phil Edwards (CAN)
1948 London
 Mal Whitfield (USA)  Arthur Wint (JAM)  Marcel Hansenne (FRA)
1952 Helsinki
 Mal Whitfield (USA)  Arthur Wint (JAM)  Heinz Ulzheimer (GER)
1956 Melbourne
 Tom Courtney (USA)  Derek Johnson (GBR)  Audun Boysen (NOR)
1960 Rome
 Peter Snell (NZL)  Roger Moens (BEL)   )BWI(
1964 Tokyo
 Peter Snell (NZL)  Bill Crothers (CAN)  Wilson Kiprugut (KEN)
1968 Mexico City
 Ralph Doubell (AUS)  Wilson Kiprugut (KEN)  Tom Farrell (USA)
1972 Munich
 Dave Wottle (USA)  Yevgeniy Arzhanov (URS)  Mike Boit (KEN)
1976 Montreal
 Alberto Juantorena (CUB)  Ivo Van Damme (BEL)  Rick Wohlhuter (USA)
1980 Moscow
 Steve Ovett (GBR)  Sebastian Coe (GBR)  Nikolay Kirov (URS)
1984 Los Angeles
 Joaquim Cruz (BRA)  Sebastian Coe (GBR)  Earl Jones (USA)
1988 Seoul
 Paul Ereng (KEN)  Joaquim Cruz (BRA)  Saïd Aouita (MAR)
1992 Barcelona
 William Tanui (KEN)  Nixon Kiprotich (KEN)  Johnny Gray (USA)
1996 Atlanta
 Vebjørn Rodal (NOR)  Hezekiél Sepeng (RSA)  Fred Onyancha (KEN)
2000 Sydney
 Nils Schumann (GER)  Wilson Kipketer (DEN)  Djabir Saïd-Guerni (ALG)
2004 Athens
 Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS)  Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (RSA)  Wilson Kipketer (DEN)
2008 Beijing
 Wilfred Bungei (KEN)  Ismail Ahmed Ismail (SUD)  Alfred Kirwa Yego (KEN)
2012 London
 David Rudisha (KEN)  Nigel Amos (BOT)  Timothy Kitum (KEN)


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1928 Amsterdam
 Lina Radke (GER)  Kinuye Hitomi (JPN)  Inga Gentzel (SWE)
1932–1956 not included in the Olympic program
1960 Rome
 Lyudmila Shevtsova (URS)  Brenda Jones (AUS)  Ursula Donath (EUA)
1964 Tokyo
 Ann Packer (GBR)  Maryvonne Dupureur (FRA)  Marise Chamberlain (NZL)
1968 Mexico City
 Madeline Manning (USA)  Ilona Silai (ROU)  Mia Gommers (NED)
1972 Munich
 Hildegard Falck (FRG)  Nijolė Sabaitė (URS)  Gunhild Hoffmeister (GDR)
1976 Montreal
 Tatyana Kazankina (URS)  Nikolina Shtereva (BUL)  Elfi Zinn (GDR)
1980 Moscow
 Nadezhda Olizarenko (URS)  Olga Mineyeva (URS)  Tatyana Providokhina (URS)
1984 Los Angeles
 Doina Melinte (ROU)  Kim Gallagher (USA)  Fiţa Lovin (ROU)
1988 Seoul
 Sigrun Wodars (GDR)  Christine Wachtel (GDR)  Kim Gallagher (USA)
1992 Barcelona
 Ellen van Langen (NED)  Liliya Nurutdinova (EUN)  Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)
1996 Atlanta
 Svetlana Masterkova (RUS)  Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)  Maria Mutola (MOZ)
2000 Sydney
 Maria Mutola (MOZ)  Stephanie Graf (AUT)  Kelly Holmes (GBR)
2004 Athens
 Kelly Holmes (GBR)  Hasna Benhassi (MAR)  Jolanda Čeplak (SLO)
2008 Beijing
 Pamela Jelimo (KEN)  Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN)  Hasna Benhassi (MAR)
2012 London
 Mariya Savinova (RUS)  Caster Semenya (RSA)  Ekaterina Poistogova (RUS)

World Championships medalists


Championships Gold Silver Bronze
1983 Helsinki  Willi Wülbeck (FRG)  Rob Druppers (NED)  Joaquim Cruz (BRA)
1987 Rome  Billy Konchellah (KEN)  Peter Elliott (GBR)  José Luiz Barbosa (BRA)
1991 Tokyo  Billy Konchellah (KEN)  José Luiz Barbosa (BRA)  Mark Everett (USA)
1993 Stuttgart  Paul Ruto (KEN)  Giuseppe D'Urso (ITA)  Billy Konchellah (KEN)
1995 Gothenburg  Wilson Kipketer (DEN)  Arthémon Hatungimana (BDI)  Vebjørn Rodal (NOR)
1997 Athens  Wilson Kipketer (DEN)  Norberto Téllez (CUB)  Rich Kenah (USA)
1999 Seville  Wilson Kipketer (DEN)  Hezekiél Sepeng (RSA)  Djabir Saïd-Guerni (ALG)
2001 Edmonton  André Bucher (SUI)  Wilfred Bungei (KEN)  Paweł Czapiewski (POL)
2003 Saint-Denis  Djabir Saïd-Guerni (ALG)  Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS)  Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (RSA)
2005 Helsinki  Rashid Ramzi (BHR)  Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS)  William Yiampoy (KEN)
2007 Osaka  Alfred Kirwa Yego (KEN)  Gary Reed (CAN)  Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS)
2009 Berlin  Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (RSA)  Alfred Kirwa Yego (KEN)  Yusuf Saad Kamel (BHR)
2011 Daegu  David Rudisha (KEN)  Abubaker Kaki (SUD)  Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS)
2013 Moscow  Mohammed Aman (ETH)  Nick Symmonds (USA)  Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI)
2015 Beijing  David Rudisha (KEN)  Adam Kszczot (POL)  Amel Tuka (BIH)


Championships Gold Silver Bronze
1983 Helsinki  Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH)  Lyubov Gurina (URS)  Yekaterina Podkopayeva (URS)
1987 Rome  Sigrun Wodars (GDR)  Christine Wachtel (GDR)  Lyubov Gurina (URS)
1991 Tokyo  Lilia Nurutdinova (URS)  Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)  Ella Kovacs (ROU)
1993 Stuttgart  Maria Mutola (MOZ)  Lyubov Gurina (RUS)  Ella Kovacs (ROU)
1995 Gothenburg  Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)  Letitia Vriesde (SUR)  Kelly Holmes (GBR)
1997 Athens  Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)  Yelena Afanasyeva (RUS)  Maria Mutola (MOZ)
1999 Seville  Ludmila Formanová (CZE)  Maria Mutola (MOZ)  Svetlana Masterkova (RUS)
2001 Edmonton  Maria Mutola (MOZ)  Stephanie Graf (AUT)  Letitia Vriesde (SUR)
2003 Saint-Denis  Maria Mutola (MOZ)  Kelly Holmes (GBR)  Natalya Khrushchelyova (RUS)
2005 Helsinki  Zulia Calatayud (CUB)  Hasna Benhassi (MAR)  Tatyana Andrianova (RUS)
2007 Osaka  Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN)  Hasna Benhassi (MAR)  Mayte Martínez (ESP)
2009 Berlin  Caster Semenya (RSA)  Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN)  Jennifer Meadows (GBR)
2011 Daegu  Mariya Savinova (RUS)  Caster Semenya (RSA)  Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN)
2013 Moscow  Eunice Jepkoech Sum (KEN)  Mariya Savinova (RUS)  Brenda Martinez (USA)
2015 Beijing  Maryna Arzamasava (BLR)  Melissa Bishop (CAN)  Eunice Jepkoech Sum (KEN)

Season's bests

As of June 5, 2015


  1. ^ a b "800 Metres Results".  
  2. ^ "800 Metres Results". 2010-06-04. Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  3. ^ "800m Result" ( 
  4. ^ "800m Results" (PDF). 17 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "IAAF Toplist 800m Women Outdoor". IAAF. December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
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