Dave Wottle

Birthday: 08/07/50 Mile PR: 3:53.3 - 1973
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 3:36.2 - 1973
High School: Canton Lincoln HS (OH) ’68
Hometown: Canton, OH
College: Bowling Green '73
Current Residence: Germantown, TN

Dave Wottle, the 1972 Olympic 800 meter champion, loved racing the Mile and saw the storied distance as his best event, and he considers his first sub-4 minute Mile, 3:59.0 on June 6, 1970, as equal to his Olympic gold medal performance and 800m world record. He also was the 1972 NCAA 1500m champion and the 1973 NCAA Mile champion: indoor (4:03.4) and outdoor (his 3:57.1 set the still standing NCAA outdoor record).

In 1973, Wottle and 1972 U.S. Olympic teammate and 5000m specialist Steve Prefontaine raced the Mile at the - and Wottle kicked down Pre on his home track, clocking 3:53.3 to 3:54.6; both set personal records, and at the time, the legendary duo became the 3rd and 9th fastest men all-time in the Mile.Also, Wottle was the last man to beat Pre at Hayward Field (only three defeats, all in the Mile).

The Bowling Green graduate, known for his closing kick and golf hat, set the 800m world record (1:44.3) in 1972 and also competed in the 1500 meters at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In June 2012, he retired from Rhodes College in Memphis where he was the long-time Dean of Admissions.

In 2023, Dave was one of 14 inductees into the second class of USTFCCCA’s Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame.

FUN FACT: After his gold medal 800m performance in Munich 1972, he was returning to Olympic Stadium after a cool down and Roger Bannister stopped Wottle, introduced himself, congratulated Wottle and the legendary duo talked a bit.

FUN FACT II: After his epic 1973 Mile race with Steve Prefontaine, Wottle had put his trademark golf hat on the Hayward Field infield and somebody picked it up and took off, but Wottle chased the thief out of the stadium and eventually got his beloved, lucky hat back.


A Falcon and a Duck Made the Pre Classic Fly

May 25, 2017

Without a doubt, though, the big, highly anticipated Mile race - Wottle vs. Pre - established this meet as the USA’s must-see outdoor invitational.

By Jesse Squire, Citius Mag

The Prefontaine Classic might not exist without Bowling Green. I am not making this up.

I ran at Bowling Green...

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Running legend Dave Wottle was really a Miler

December 08, 2014

1972 Olympic 800m champion with numerous national Mile titles and world class times was one of the best at the storied distance

By Rick Schnittker

I first met Dave Wottle as a 15-year-old making a trip to the Ohio JC Summer State Meet in Canton, Ohio. I had qualified for the event with my...

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1973 Hayward Field Restoration: Prefontaine takes on Wottle

October 14, 2014

“I can remember just thinking that to me it was one person wins, one person loses, but he had the perspective that I wished I had. He kind of knew that often times, it’s not you. It’s your competitors and your coach and all the other things. It all mixes together to develop a world class runner."...

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High School Record Holder Gets Mile Record Back!

June 23, 2014

Rick Schnittker, a BBTM supporter and Bowling Green alum, was inducted into the Perrysburg Schools' Hall of Fame for his track exploits during 1967-70 track seasons. His school Mile record of 4:16.4, which had been forgotten in the switch to the 1600m, was reinstated by Thomas Hosler,...

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Dave Wottle Interview

April 02, 2010

"Hands down I always preferred running the 1500 meters and the Mile... I loved the Mile, its strategy and the balance between speed and endurance."

From Gary Cohen, garycohenrunning.com

Dave Wottle won the 1972 Olympic 800 meter gold medal in Munich, Germany by 0.03 seconds in a time of...

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Some Hot Times in a Hothouse

June 18, 1973

Dave Wottle defends Mile title, sets NCAA Meet record of 3:57.1 and leads 7 others under 4 minutes in Baton Rouge

By Ron Reid, Sports Illustrated

As track meets go the 52nd NCAA Championships at Baton Rouge last week was certain to generate a bunch of new records. Not so much for athletic...

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