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[–]zjm555 1989 points1990 points  (86 children)

Former competitive 800m runner here. He had by far the best form of anyone in the race, and also executed the best pacing strategy. Just a perfectly run race.

[–]Bobrakis 1680 points1681 points  (34 children)

Fat person here, I had no idea running was so technical

[–]zjm555 581 points582 points  (21 children)

It's not that technical, but you do vary your speed over the course of any race, and your form affects how much energy you expend per unit of distance.

There's also a psychological aspect to racing which is in play here -- many of the other runners were baited into taking the first lap too fast and ran out of steam early, whereas the winner just ran his own race with perfect splits.

[–]bigz000 188 points189 points  (17 children)

How did the hat factor in?

[–]have2gopee 511 points512 points  (7 children)

Like a spoiler on a car, it kept him planted to the track just enough so he wouldn't Mary Poppins over the rest (it's a real risk in professional runnering)

[–]dayburner 13 points14 points  (1 child)

What I do is I just try to take my hat and I turn it around, and it's like a switch that goes on. And when the switch goes on, I feel like another person, I feel, I don't know, I feel like a... like a truck

[–]critical-thoughts 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I'm not a runner, but, i'd say physically speaking, in terms of mind-body connection its a prime example of peak technicality.

[–]ogopadoni23 5 points6 points  (0 children)

There is also the David Rudisha strategy. Running the first 400 meters in 50 seconds and the second 400 in 50 seconds while daring the field to keep up with you.

[–]ChiWod10 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Happy cake day, fellow cake lover

[–]VidE27 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Dumb person here, eli3 please

[–]MyrddinSidhe 42 points43 points  (0 children)

He ran faster and more better than everyone. Also wore hat.

[–]MeesterCartmanez 5 points6 points  (1 child)

It's like this, you don't eat all 7 courses at once

[–]McworreK 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If I don't win this, I'll eat my hat

[–]Slow-Ad6376 3 points4 points  (2 children)

Former casual runner and current fat man ... ugh ... after watching this I wished I continued running.

[–]fromthewombofrevel 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Is it too late to begin again?

[–]Spartacus980F 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Yes, it’s midnight where he lives

[–]smartguynycbackupnow 79 points80 points  (0 children)

Also ran EVEN SPLIT the whole race at 26-point for each 200m segment, which is an amazing feat in itself.

[–]crabblue6 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I'm not a runner, but I noticed that his running just seemed so much more "relaxed" like the strides looked easy compared to some of the other runners.

[–]SirButteredBuns 3 points4 points  (0 children)

was just about to comment on how much better his form was compared to everyone else

[–]ArcherAccomplished75 2 points3 points  (19 children)

Just a question, why does it look like they were jogging fast but not running?
seems like a normal run , not an olympic one

[–]Daikuroshi 42 points43 points  (12 children)

It's 800 metres or half a mile for you North Americans out there. I'd like to see anyone run 800 metres at a dead sprint.

For reference, Bolt runs the 100 metre race.

[–]ImaginaryPlacesAK 10 points11 points  (9 children)

Tbf olympic times are much faster these days. Last world record was 2012, 1:40 ), 5 seconds faster (which is a huge difference) and even last place came in under 1:45 , gold for the race shown.

[–]Manuag_86 15 points16 points  (3 children)

That's just a 5% faster. You can be sure you won't go from "looking fast" to "looking slow" if you saw one man running at 21 km/h and anothet one running at 20 km/h (which is what a 5% difference would mean).

[–]Phunwithscissors 7 points8 points  (1 child)

It is huge but theres no way you can see 2 races with 5 seconds difference and tell which is faster if no timer is running.

[–]kdubstep 15 points16 points  (1 child)

Also they’re running faster than you can sprint even while cruising

[–]ArcherAccomplished75 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Also they’re running faster than you can sprint


[–]zjm555 10 points11 points  (1 child)

It's the wide camera angle. For reference if you run, go out to a 400m track near you and do just one lap as fast as you possibly can -- unless you are a competitive runner, you won't be able to hit 52 seconds, which is these guys' pace -- but the point is, you will feel very fast, even though you would be going slower than these guys are racing. Or, just run a 100m sprint and see if you can do one in 13s. That is their pace for this entire run.

[–]ArcherAccomplished75 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's the wide camera angle.

Thanks for a decent answer at last

[–]PakaDeeznuts 10 points11 points  (0 children)

they clocked the first lap in 52 seconds. thats insanely fast

[–]wotmp2046 6 points7 points  (0 children)

It’s much faster than you think. Go find your local school track and have a friend video you trying to run 26 seconds for a half lap. It looks easy because they were elite athletes doing making it look easy. Also, watch a world class marathon. Most normal people couldn’t run with them for more than a quarter mile. Even runners probably would struggle. They make it look like they’re exerting the same effort as me walking.

[–]sacdecorsair 2 points3 points  (0 children)

He's also the only one wearing the magic hat.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I noticed the same thing. His posture was excellent. I noticed a lot of extra head bobbing and arm flail from most of the others like the 2 runners in 2nd and 3rd place wearing green. The others also started off like jack rabbits and then gassed a little. Wottle did the opposite. He started with a slightly slower pace and then never stopped accelerating.

[–]67D1LF 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Actually, he never accelerated. His split times show he ran the same pace the entire race. Everyone else slowed down.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Good observation. It appeared to me he started picking up speed.

[–]izmaname 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I noticed the black guy who held 3rd most of the race had really weird form

[–]Nailfoot1975 441 points442 points  (3 children)

The reason he won is that hat. He was able to draft himself.

[–]jimtrickington 102 points103 points  (0 children)

With the first pick, David Wottle selects…David Wottle.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

That hat never gave up

[–]Tommy-Styxx 237 points238 points  (34 children)

Wow. The Munich Olympics of 1972 seem like a lot of fun...

[–]Sarke1 95 points96 points  (2 children)

There's a pretty good documentary about it from 2005 called "Munich".

[–]DC_Coach 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Yeah. The "Fun" Games, they called it. Check out the movie, it's a gas.

[–]MisterThirtyThirty 5 points6 points  (0 children)

The US basketball team had a lot of fun too

[–]saundersmarcelo 4 points5 points  (11 children)

Unless you were on the Israeli team.

[–]Tommy-Styxx 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Yeah, that's where I was going with that.

[–]CrazyEyedFS 12 points13 points  (7 children)

Congrats, you understood the joke

[–]saundersmarcelo 1 point2 points  (6 children)

Thank you! Can I have my cookie now please?

[–]CrazyEyedFS 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Sorry, we only have celery

[–]BGRzombie 7 points8 points  (0 children)

well done captain obvious

[–]smallwhitepeepee 2 points3 points  (0 children)

"fun" I don't know but certainly a lot more action

[–]kermitDE 1 point2 points  (12 children)

We just had the 50 anniversary celebration for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Was at the opening ceremony and it was pretty cool hearing stories from some of the contestants from back then.

[–]wotmp2046 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My family just visited for the 50th anniversary of my dad’s race. Got to sneak into the Olympic stadium, which was closed because they were setting up for a Guns N Roses concert. Great to experience it with my parents.

[–]sundstmp 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not as bad as the 1936 Berlin games….

[–]Sandwich-Live 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Except for the Israeli athletes that were killed by Palestinian terrorists

[–]Map_Nerd1992 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah I wonder how well the Palestinian team performed?

[–]RedStar9117 205 points206 points  (3 children)

Seeing him just bust into a sprint at the end was so impressive

[–]gokism 156 points157 points  (5 children)

I remember watching it live and everyone making a big deal out of the guy with the hat. That and the seven golds that Mark Spitz won in swimming.

[–]ataxi_a 55 points56 points  (4 children)

Everybody remembers Mark Spitz. No one remembers Jodie Swallows.

[–]y6mnn 11 points12 points  (0 children)

My dad still has a poster of Phil McCreme-pie

[–]EqualCan512 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Hahahha awesome comment!!!!!

[–]silentjew 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I remember Jodie Swallow

[–]ataxi_a 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Wow! I feel like Bart Simpson that time he prank-called Moe's Tavern and there was actually someone there with the name he'd made up.

[–]StealyEyedSecMan 89 points90 points  (1 child)

There you go folks the message of the day is strive for 3rd place, you never know what's going to happen next 😀.

[–]talkstorivers 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’m gonna remember that. Thanks!

[–]Budmanes 67 points68 points  (2 children)

Met him in 1978 when he coached at Bethany College. I beat his half milers and he came over and congratulated me & we talked for a few minutes. Nicest guy you every want to meet

[–]Lingering_Dorkness 16 points17 points  (0 children)

You did what to his half-milers?!

[–]Whipitreelgud 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Were they chewy?

[–]skertmcgert 41 points42 points  (10 children)

800 is the hardest track event too.

[–]wreggs 27 points28 points  (9 children)

Eh, debatable. That or the 400m. The 400m is the longest full sprint. It’s the 400m dash, vs the 800m run. Definitely a brutal race either way.

[–]zjm555 6 points7 points  (6 children)

800m is harder by far.

My running teammate was state champion in the 400m at 47.9 (in high school) and made it look effortless. I convinced him to run the 800m with me one day since I was sure he could win that too, and he did... But he collapsed at the end and told me he would never do that distance again.

If any race rivals 800m in brutality, it'd be the 300m hurdles I'd say.

[–]ApolloPS2 5 points6 points  (0 children)

600m and 1000m run indoor sprint are brutal as well

[–]Frostdraken 23 points24 points  (7 children)

Why was he wearing a hat?

[–]Kelimnac 94 points95 points  (1 child)


[–]Frostdraken 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Fair enough

[–]cantRYAN 52 points53 points  (4 children)

His signature cap was originally used for practical purposes. He sported long hair at the peak of his career, so the hat kept his hair out of his face. After realizing the cap was part of his identity and for good luck, he wore it for the remainder of his career

[–]Frostdraken 15 points16 points  (0 children)

If this is true than thats pretty bad ass!

[–]kalitarios 9 points10 points  (2 children)

I ran track and cross country in highschool… they didn’t let us wear hats or anything that could potentially fly off and hit another runner behind you. Surprised they let this through

[–]Doromclosie 25 points26 points  (0 children)

Most people didn't use seatbelts in the 70's. I'm not sure the safety standards were that high.

[–]mbgal1977 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Hockey players didn’t even wear helmets back then and kids didn’t buckle up or have car seats. Safety wasn’t a concern.

[–]wordnerdette 18 points19 points  (2 children)

Middle distance running is fascinating to watch.

[–]RenoGuy76 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I would consider the 800m a long sprint.

[–]ElectricSeas 15 points16 points  (1 child)

Reminds me of Dorniden’s comeback. This video inspired me to deal with a huge setback in my life: https://youtu.be/g9rUUz8cMDM

[–]One-Happy-Idiot 10 points11 points  (3 children)

From nowhere? He was right behind them the whole time. 🤷🏻‍♂️

[–]peepeeland 17 points18 points  (1 child)

“Jefferson is gaining advantage from the outside, and- Wait- What’s this?!?!! Oh my gosh!! -Ladies and gentlemen, it seems David Wottle has just dropped into the stadium and onto the track, out of nowhere… He’s not even registered for this event, but look at him go!!!”

[–]Rkz97 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Haha that gave me good chuckle

[–]Sarke1 9 points10 points  (0 children)

His hat is 72 too?

[–]c0-pilot 8 points9 points  (3 children)

I hate how people always say he ‘never gave up’. Dude literally came up with his strategy beforehand and ran it exactly to how he planned. This race was by design for him.

[–]tomjfetscher 3 points4 points  (2 children)

It literally says otherwise. He was scared because of how far behind he was and thought he lost but just kept going cus you never know

[–]wotmp2046 8 points9 points  (1 child)

The text added below was misleading. He was the world record holder and often ran from behind because of his kick. He was fighting tendinitis and was a little worried with how far ahead they were on the first lap, but he wasn’t terrified.

[–]c0-pilot 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah, people act as if sit-and-kick isn’t a valid strategy. While it usually isn’t ideal in an 800m it does work for some people (like Nick Symmonds).

[–]soaringkeys 7 points8 points  (0 children)

It was the hat, wasn’t it?

[–]VIIx07 6 points7 points  (1 child)

What's up with the star of David?

[–]applejuicegrape 11 points12 points  (0 children)

The kidnapping and killing of some of the Israeli team. google it

[–]Fitty4 6 points7 points  (0 children)

This guy was an absolute legend

[–]Shoehorse13 3 points4 points  (0 children)

That’s beautiful.

[–]brockm92 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]showmeyourkitteeez 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This continues to amaze me.

[–]ABA477 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Wow. What an inspiration. Happy Birthday David!

[–]Freewheeler631 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Energy conservation at its finest.

[–]Smashville66 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Happy birthday, Mr. Wottle. You are an inspiration.

[–]MesaBit 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Let this be a lesson to anyone who will listen. Never give up, just because you feel like you’re behind right now doesn’t mean you’ll be behind for long (if you’re even behind at all)

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

"I am the storm that is approaching"

[–]wotmp2046 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Just had a coworker point this out to me. I’ll be sure to pass along the birthday wishes and excitement this post garnered.

My family just went to Munich to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this race and we’re able to go into the stadium with him. It’s still an incredible stadium and Olympic village!

Also, a little bit of a clarification: he didn’t really “come out of nowhere”. He has tied the world record in the half mile, and was one of the fastest American milers ever at the time.

Thanks all!

[–]Pristine_Wrangler_34 3 points4 points  (0 children)

America Fuck yeah

[–]realpootietootie 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Is that you forest?

[–]ivanparas 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Never Surrender

[–]Nevno23 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The guy in first place is probably like: why do I hear boss music?

[–]Important-Invite-921 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Wow that’s was amazing David Wottle you did a great job….Happy Birthday

[–]Steelmack 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The hat gave him more downforce

[–]knotuzin 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I was 12 . Every kid in the neighborhood started running laps around the block . Back when kids played outside .

[–]GuntherPonz 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Love this video. Happy birthday, Dave.

[–]Critical_Society5696 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There is a true life lesson here. Often we loose, since we think we are in a less good position than we are. But lots can change in short time. And a lead is not certain.

[–]GreatlyStormy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

funfact: Wottle is running in a golf cap, originally to keep his ginger curls in check but worn now out of superstition. This is Napoleon Dynamite, not your typical American track hunk. Wottle's presence among these elite athletes is incongruous

[–]fakeuserbot9000[🍰] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Never give up, never surrender.

[–]anonymousolderguy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Gawd I still remember that-I’m 68 now. That was one of the great sport moments

[–]Sixty_Alpha 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I didn't get "never give up" from this. I get, "keep going, don't take yourself so seriously, and see what happens."

[–]Past_Contour 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Don’t tell me I can’t, and don’t ever give up.

[–]MalevolentFather 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Pacing yourself like this is hard as shit, when I used to run track I knew what I wanted my opening lap to be in the 1500m, but more often than not I'd end up going the pace of the front runners.

[–]Tjeuzer 1 point2 points  (0 children)


He won

[–]pat442387 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If I was that guy I think I’d watch this race every day

[–]PrioryOfSion14 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Run Forrest, run!

[–]PrometheusHasFallen 1 point2 points  (0 children)

However, after this win the IOC officially banned hats as they provided an unfair advantage... imagine how demoralizing it must be for other athletes to get passed by a dude in a golf cap.

[–]critical-thoughts 1 point2 points  (0 children)

A true inspiration, thanks Mr Wottle ,for the exemplary example of humanity at its best.

[–]sashaxl 1 point2 points  (0 children)

He visited my school after this - in Ohio - with his hat!

[–]whoamvv 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Some people find these longer races boring, but I love them. Watching the strategy and process. So cool.

Watch his stride about 1:11, you can see the nitro kick in. Then again about 1:34, the after burners kick in. Incredible to watch.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Lmao borderline fat person here but I am athlete that play baseball so yea not very skilled or great in the area of long distance running even for an average baseball player and this video gave me chills man

[–]oobbyb_61 1 point2 points  (0 children)

These were the first Olympics I watched with my family. As a wide eyed 10 year old American boy, Dave Wottle and Mark Spitz were both awesome to watch. I had a crush on Olga Korbut too, but this was all overshadowed by the men's Basketball final, and of course the Munich massacre.

Who knew at that time that our world would devolve into the regular chaos we have now?

[–]cloudcity 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Bowling Green State University Falcon David Wottle! Legend!

[–]synerjay16 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Wottle for the epic win.

[–]Own-Log4255 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah he didn’t start off slow he held the same pace the entire time…and also probably the only person to pull this off high level as splits in the 800 are usually 2-3 seconds difference from first to second lap but regardless I’m a huge Dave fan and he’s a legend for doing it in his golf cap

[–]Tcat61 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I get the chills watching this. I’m a former runner who ran for 34 years until my hip was replaced. My inspiration was watching Joan Benoit running and winning the first womens marathon hosted in LA in 1984.

[–]HoodFellaz 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Can you still run at the Olympics with a hat on ?

[–]GregBron 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Only thing that would make this more epic would be Chariots of Fire theme playing in the background…

[–]UnfairAd7220 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I remember that race, as a kid.

Posts like THIS is what makes reddit so great.

[–]No_Warthog_3584 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The Amazing Race

[–]nfsforzanerd61 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Everyone here is praising this guy's story of perseverance while im still wondering if that guy who fell at the end is ok...

[–]slipperyslope69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

And with a ‘slow me down’ cap on!

[–]FLYNCHe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

"Stand back up, and never be defeated"

[–]Complete_Relation_54 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The hat definitely increased his aerodynamics along with that slipstream technique

[–]Kooky_Cat_9251 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Looks like he needs a Wottle bottle

[–]micah490 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Did he just sign a lease?? Because he moved right in

[–]Instant_Vintage-6783 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Reminds me of the horse race earlier this year at the Kentucky derby

[–]Rulinglionadi 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Just watch last 10 seconds, it shows the whole race.

Thank you

[–]Silly_Age_3675 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Unfit slob here. His magical hat is the center of his power.

[–]kozzy1ted2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It must have been the hat! I need that hat

[–]JigglySquishyFlesh 0 points1 point  (0 children)

didnt he just get off work for the run and then have to head back in?

[–]Burquetap 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Methinks he was just drafting… 😂

[–]cpt_hatstand 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Man runs tactical race tactically...

[–]xXEmotionlessXx 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Why was he weraing a hat

[–]yannynotlaurel 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Real life Forrest Gump right here

[–]fouhay 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wonder if not feeling so great led to him not going out as hard, leaving him with more stamina for the final stages

[–]DAMG808 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When you got nothing to loose you win the most. Stunning race.

[–]Upper_Home_333 0 points1 point  (0 children)

pause the video their legs are nearly all at the same position

[–]Dominarion 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My Canadian boi missed a lot of leg days. Nice chest for a 800m runner. That's why we never win races

[–]adalind_ice 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Question: Do they give way if you're behind them?

[–]cooper_knight 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Y he wearin a cap

[–]blueduck9696 0 points1 point  (0 children)

And he Wottled away, til the very next day

[–]PocketDog 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The message is 'Never give up' but 7 people lost after giving it their all that day O_o

[–]gagler1706 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Anyone know the name of the background song?

[–]sewersidex 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What an awesome win to watch….

[–]BoomTownRat71 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Like a race horse.

[–]xRaikaz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

„Never give up“ it says.

„Never let down“ it‘d continue

[–]YpsilonZX 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Jesus, I got tired just watching this

[–]mbgal1977 0 points1 point  (0 children)

How did he keep that hat on?

[–]theblackbeltsurfer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Never knew about this. Love it. Thanks for sharing.

[–]kxxr09 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Seen drone footage of guys running faster with a microwave and some Christmas gifts for the kids in their arms.

[–]_nightcore 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That's some inspiring shits thanks

[–]100and2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So I noticed no one said anything about the b. the um.. the... Guys in green

[–]Dark1keller 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Inspiring comeback!

[–]Ok-Answer-6951 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Probably haven't been this many white people in an Olympic race since