Editor’s note: This piece is being reposted due to the memorial on January 20, 2024, for the late Mike Fanelli. Mike was the cultural historian of our sport, a lifetime runner, a former Reebok sports marketing manager, coach, athlete, agent, elite athlete coordinator, real estate impresario, friend, brother, and husband. We will miss him. I wanted our readers to see a small selection of his pieces on #RunBlogRun over the years. Mike Fanelli, 1956-2023, RIP. 

This is a supplement to Day 1 of the 1968 Mexico Olympics by Mike Fanelli. We first published this in 2018 and reposted it four years later with Mike Fanelli’s permission. 

Results, 1956 Melbourne, from the Track Garage

In all of track geekdom, there are few bigger geeks than Mike Fanelli, and here’s the proof: supplement 1 to day 1, 1968 Olympics.

MAMO MIA IN MELBOURNE... I mentioned that Mamo Wolde said the Games were his third Olympiad in one of my recent postings regarding the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. I went on further to say that the Ethiopian great first competed at Melbourne in 1956…and that there, he tripled, running the 1500, 800, and a leg on the 4 x 400-meter relay.

4x400m heats with one Mamo Wolde from Track Garage

Long-time pal Larry Rawson inquired about Mamo’s one-lap split in that relay. While none of my resources (including the dusty circa ’56 Track & Field News that calls a specific garage ‘home’) could shed any light on the topic. But THEN, I had a flash…I seemed to recall that within the garage archives’ Australia wing, there were some meet programs from that big ol’ track meet Down Under…some 62 years ago, according to my Wayback Machine. Lo and behold, I uncovered the November 30, 1956, meet program that features within the first round of the 4 x 400 relays…oh, and it is in A+ immaculate mint condition as though you brought it home from yesterday’s CYO meet.

At any rate, it is pictured here, along with all of the starting lineups. The Ethiopians ran in the third heat and started out in lane 5. Mamo ran the third leg. They did not qualify for the next round and were timed in 3:29.93. We can extrapolate from that that they averaged 52.49 per man, so we have some sense of a foundation from which to benchmark the young 24-year-old future Olympic marathon champion’s ballpark quarter mile time.

Thought that you just might kinda’ like to know!

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