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Out of the 74 starting runners, only 53 finished the marathon at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games.
After being left slightly behind the leading pack that had set an initial fiercely fast pace, Waldemar Cierpinski from East Germany was able to pass the leaders around the 36 kilometre mark.
Once Cierpinski passed the pack he kept his position and took his number 297 bib through the finish line to claim the gold medal.
As the East German had also won the marathon in the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, he equalled the feat of marathon legend Abebe Bikila who had won two Olympic gold medals in Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964.