Filbert Bayi v. the British Empire

It’s the men’s 1500m final at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand. Filbert Bayi of Tanzania has decided to fly off from the start and try to win the race from the front, a foolhardy tactic that will end with Bayi looking either fool or hardy.

We join the race at halfway, with Bayi still ten metres clear of the home favourite, John Walker. Will Walker catch him, or can Bayi hang on and win?

This clip looks and sounds fantastic. The commentator is David Coleman of the BBC, who does a great job of capturing the rising excitement of the race and the crowd. (At the bell, an inspired Coleman has Bayi being chased by “the black shadows of Rod Dixon and Walker”, the two New Zealanders in all-black gear looming behind the leader.) And there’s a thrilling close-up view from the trackside camera that follows the runners around the top bend.

No film of the full thing on the Internet, so here are the last two laps of a fantastic race:

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