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Medal record
Men’s athletics
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1952 Helsinki 3000 m steeplechase
Pan American Games
Silver 1955 Mexico City 5000 metres

Horace Ashenfelter, III (born January 23, 1923 in Collegeville, Pennsylvania) is an American athlete. He competed in international athletics from 1947 to 1956 after service in World War II and the completion of his degree at Penn State.

Ashenfelter was one of America's finest runners during his career but he was outpaced by many international performers. During his career he won 15 national AAU titles and three collegiate national titles.

Although he was considered a long shot, Ashenfelter was the surprise winner of the steeplechase at the 1952 Summer Olympics at Helsinki. He finished ahead of Vladimir Kazantsev of USSR and John Disley of Great Britain, and broke Kazantsev's unofficial world record (the IAAF did not accept official records in the steeplechase until 1954) in the process. Since Ashenfelter worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it led to humorous comments about him being the first American spy who allowed himself to be chased by a Russian. In addition, Ashenfelter won the Sullivan Award as outstanding amateur athlete for the year 1952.


Ashenfelter now lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey in 1998. The indoor track facility at his alma mater, Penn State, is named in his honor.

A race, the Ashenfelter 8k Classic, is held annually in his honor in Glen Ridge. It is attended by runners throughout the region. The event's logos frequently depict the legend himself.


  • Wallechinsky, David and Jamie Loucky (2008). "Track & Field (Men): 3000-Meter Steeplechase". In The Complete Book of the Olympics - 2008 Edition. London: Aurum Press Limited. pp. 169-70.


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