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400 Metres

400 metres
The closing stages of a men's 400 m race
Men's records
World Michael Johnson 43.18 (1999)
Olympic Michael Johnson 43.49 (1996)
Women's records
World Marita Koch 47.60 (1985)
Olympic Marie-José Pérec 48.25 (1996)

The 400 metres, or 400 metre dash, is a common sprinting event in track and field competitions. It has been featured in the athletics programme at the Summer Olympics since 1896 (1964 for women). On a standard outdoor running track, it is exactly one lap around the track. Runners start in staggered positions and race in separate lanes for the entire course. In many countries, athletes previously competed in the 440 yard dash (402.336 m)—which is the length of a quarter of a mile and was referred to as the 'quarter-mile'—instead of the 400 m (437.445 yards), though this distance is now obsolete. An athlete who competes in the 400 m may still be referred to as 'quarter-miler'; the distance or event might still be called the "quarter."

Maximum sprint speed capability is a significant contributing factor to success in the event, but athletes also require substantial speed endurance and the ability to cope well with high amounts of lactic acid to sustain a fast speed over a whole lap. While considered to be predominantly an anaerobic event, there is some aerobic involvement and the degree of aerobic training required for 400 metre athletes is open to debate.[1]

The United States dominates the men's event. The current men's world record is held by American Michael Johnson, with a time of 43.18 seconds. The world indoor record holder is Kerron Clement, in 44.57 seconds. The current women's world record is held by Marita Koch, with a time of 47.60 seconds. Grenadan Kirani James is the reigning men's Olympic champion, while South African Wayde van Niekerk holds the world title; Allyson Felix is the reigning women's world champion, while Sanya Richards-Ross holds the women's Olympic title. The men's T43 (classification) Paralympic world record of 45.07 seconds is held by Oscar Pistorius.[2]

An Olympic double of 200 metres and 400 m was first achieved by Valerie Brisco-Hooks in 1984, and later by Michael Johnson from the United States and Marie-José Pérec of France both in 1996. Alberto Juantorena of Cuba at the 1976 Summer Olympics became the first and so far the only athlete to win both the 400 m and 800 m Olympic titles.

The Olympic champion has frequently won a second gold medal in the Charles Jenkins, Otis Davis, Mike Larrabee, Lee Evans, Viktor Markin, Alonzo Babers, Steve Lewis, Quincy Watts, Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt; and 4 times by women; Monika Zehrt, Valerie Brisco-Hooks, Olga Bryzgina and Sanya Richards-Ross.


  • All-time top 25 men 1
  • All-time top 25 Women 2
  • Notable 4x400 m relay splits 3
  • Most successful athletes 4
  • Olympic medalists 5
    • Men 5.1
    • Women 5.2
  • World Championships medalists 6
    • Men 6.1
    • Women 6.2
  • Season's bests 7
    • Men 7.1
    • Women 7.2
  • Notes and references 8
  • External links 9

All-time top 25 men

  • As of August 2015
Rank Time Athlete Nation Date Location Ref
1. 43.18 Michael Johnson  United States 26 August 1999 Seville
2. 43.29 Harry 'Butch' Reynolds  United States 17 August 1988 Zürich
3. 43.45 Jeremy Wariner  United States 31 August 2007 Osaka
4. 43.48 Wayde van Niekerk  South Africa 26 August 2015 Beijing [3]
5. 43.50 Quincy Watts  United States 5 August 1992 Barcelona
6. 43.65 LaShawn Merritt  United States 26 August 2015 Beijing [4]
7. 43.72 Isaac Makwala  Botswana 5 July 2015 La Chaux-de-Fonds [5]
8. 43.74 Kirani James  Grenada 3 July 2014 Lausanne [6]
9. 43.81 Danny Everett  United States 26 June 1992 New Orleans
10. 43.86 A Lee Evans  United States 18 October 1968 Mexico City
11. 43.87 Steve Lewis  United States 28 September 1988 Seoul
12. 43.93 Yousef Ahmed Masrahi  Saudi Arabia 23 August 2015 Beijing [7]
Rusheen McDonald  Jamaica 23 August 2015 Beijing [8]
14. 43.97 A Larry James  United States 18 October 1968 Mexico City
15. 44.05 Angelo Taylor  United States 23 June 2007 Indianapolis
16. 44.09 Alvin Harrison  United States 19 June 1996 Atlanta
Jerome Young  United States 21 June 1998 New Orleans
18. 44.10 Gary Kikaya  Democratic Republic of the Congo 9 September 2006 Stuttgart
19. 44.11 Luguelín Santos  Dominican Republic 26 August 2015 Beijing [9]
20. 44.13 Derek Mills  United States 4 June 1995 Eugene
21. 44.14 Roberto Hernandez  Cuba 30 May 1990 Seville
22. 44.15 Anthuan Maybank  United States 3 July 1996 Lausanne
23. 44.16 Otis Harris  United States 23 August 2004 Athens
24. 44.17 Innocent Egbunike  Nigeria 19 August 1987 Zurich
25. 44.18 Samson Kitur  Kenya 3 August 1992 Barcelona

"A" indicates that the time was set at altitude.

All-time top 25 Women

  • As of August 2015
Rank Time Athlete Nation Date Location Ref
1. 47.60 Marita Koch  East Germany 6 October 1985 Canberra
2. 47.99 Jarmila Kratochvílová  Czechoslovakia 10 August 1983 Helsinki
3. 48.25 Marie-José Pérec  France 29 July 1996 Atlanta
4. 48.27 Olga Vladykina-Bryzgina  Soviet Union 6 October 1985 Canberra
5. 48.59 Taťána Kocembová  Czechoslovakia 10 August 1983 Helsinki
6. 48.63 Cathy Freeman  Australia 29 July 1996 Atlanta
7. 48.70 Sanya Richards-Ross  United States 16 September 2006 Athens
8. 48.83 Valerie Brisco-Hooks  United States 6 August 1984 Los Angeles
9. 48.89 Ana Guevara  Mexico 27 August 2003 Paris Saint-Denis
10. 49.05 Chandra Cheeseborough  United States 6 August 1984 Los Angeles
11. 49.07 Tonique Williams-Darling  Bahamas 12 September 2004 Berlin
12. 49.10 Falilat Ogunkoya  Nigeria 29 July 1996 Atlanta
13. 49.11 Olga Nazarova  Soviet Union 25 September 1988 Seoul
14. 49.16 Antonina Krivoshapka  Russia 5 July 2012 Cheboksary
15. 49.19 Mariya Pinigina  Soviet Union 10 August 1983 Helsinki
16. 49.24 Sabine Busch  East Germany June 1984 Erfurt
17. 49.26 Allyson Felix  United States 27 August 2015 Beijing [10]
18. 49.28 Irena Szewinska  Poland 29 July 1976 Montreal
Pauline Davis-Thompson  Bahamas 29 July 1996 Atlanta
Yuliya Gushchina  Russia 5 July 2012 Cheboksary
21. 49.29 Charity Opara  Nigeria 14 July 1998 Rome
22. 49.30 Petra Muller  East Germany 3 June 1988 Jena
Lorraine Fenton  Jamaica 19 July 2002 Monaco
24. 49.32 Shericka Williams  Jamaica 18 August 2009 Berlin
25. 49.33 Amantle Montsho  Botswana 19 July 2013 Monaco

Notable 4x400 m relay splits

Most successful athletes

Multiple (3 or more) 400 metres victories at the Olympic Games and World Championships:

  • 6 wins: Michael Johnson (USA) - Olympic Champion in 1996 and 2000, World Champion in 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999.
  • 4 wins: Marie-Jose Perec (FRA) - Olympic Champion in 1992 and 1996, World Champion in 1991 and 1995.
  • 3 wins: Cathy Freeman (AUS) - Olympic Champion in 2000, World Champion in 1997 and 1999
  • 3 wins: Jeremy Wariner (USA) - Olympic Champion in 2004, World Champion in 2005 and 2007.
  • 3 wins: Christine Ohuruogu (GBR) - Olympic Champion in 2008, World Champion in 2007 and 2013.
  • 3 wins: LaShawn Merritt (USA) - Olympic Champion in 2008, World Champion in 2009 and 2013.

Olympic medalists


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1896 Athens
 Thomas Burke (USA)  Herbert Jamison (USA)  Charles Gmelin (GBR)
1900 Paris
 Maxie Long (USA)  William Holland (USA)  Ernst Schultz (DEN)
1904 St. Louis
 Harry Hillman (USA)  Frank Waller (USA)  Herman Groman (USA)
1908 London
 Wyndham Halswelle (GBR) None awarded None awarded
1912 Stockholm
 Charles Reidpath (USA)  Hanns Braun (GER)  Edward Lindberg (USA)
1920 Antwerp
 Bevil Rudd (RSA)  Guy Butler (GBR)  Nils Engdahl (SWE)
1924 Paris
 Eric Liddell (GBR)  Horatio Fitch (USA)  Guy Butler (GBR)
1928 Amsterdam
 Ray Barbuti (USA)  James Ball (CAN)  Joachim Büchner (GER)
1932 Los Angeles
 Bill Carr (USA)  Ben Eastman (USA)  Alex Wilson (CAN)
1936 Berlin
 Archie Williams (USA)  Godfrey Brown (GBR)  James LuValle (USA)
1948 London
 Arthur Wint (JAM)  Herb McKenley (JAM)  Mal Whitfield (USA)
1952 Helsinki
  )JAM(  Herb McKenley (JAM)  Ollie Matson (USA)
1956 Melbourne
 Charles Jenkins (USA)  Karl-Friedrich Haas (EUA)  Voitto Hellstén (FIN)
 Ardalion Ignatyev (URS)
1960 Rome
 Otis Davis (USA)  Carl Kaufmann (EUA)  Malcolm Spence (RSA)
1964 Tokyo
 Mike Larrabee (USA)  Wendell Mottley (TRI)  Andrzej Badeński (POL)
1968 Mexico City
 Lee Evans (USA)  Larry James (USA)  Ron Freeman (USA)
1972 Munich
 Vincent Matthews (USA)  Wayne Collett (USA)  Julius Sang (KEN)
1976 Montreal
 Alberto Juantorena (CUB)  Fred Newhouse (USA)  Herman Frazier (USA)
1980 Moscow
 Viktor Markin (URS)  Rick Mitchell (AUS)  Frank Schaffer (GDR)
1984 Los Angeles
 Alonzo Babers (USA)  Gabriel Tiacoh (CIV)  Antonio McKay (USA)
1988 Seoul
 Steve Lewis (USA)  Butch Reynolds (USA)  Danny Everett (USA)
1992 Barcelona
 Quincy Watts (USA)  Steve Lewis (USA)  Samson Kitur (KEN)
1996 Atlanta
 Michael Johnson (USA)  Roger Black (GBR)  Davis Kamoga (UGA)
2000 Sydney
 Michael Johnson (USA)  Alvin Harrison (USA)  Greg Haughton (JAM)
2004 Athens
 Jeremy Wariner (USA)  Otis Harris (USA)  Derrick Brew (USA)
2008 Beijing
 LaShawn Merritt (USA)  Jeremy Wariner (USA)  David Neville (USA)
2012 London
 Kirani James (GRN)  Luguelín Santos (DOM)  Lalonde Gordon (TRI)


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1964 Tokyo
 Betty Cuthbert (AUS)  Ann Packer (GBR)  Judy Amoore (AUS)
1968 Mexico City
 Colette Besson (FRA)  Lillian Board (GBR)  Natalya Pechonkina (URS)
1972 Munich
 Monika Zehrt (GDR)  Rita Wilden (FRG)  Kathy Hammond (USA)
1976 Montreal
 Irena Szewińska (POL)  Christina Brehmer (GDR)  Ellen Streidt (GDR)
1980 Moscow
 Marita Koch (GDR)  Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH)  Christina Lathan (GDR)
1984 Los Angeles
 Valerie Brisco-Hooks (USA)  Chandra Cheeseborough (USA)  Kathy Smallwood-Cook (GBR)
1988 Seoul
 Olga Bryzgina (URS)  Petra Müller (GDR)  Olga Nazarova (URS)
1992 Barcelona
 Marie-José Pérec (FRA)  Olga Bryzgina (EUN)  Ximena Restrepo (COL)
1996 Atlanta
 Marie-José Pérec (FRA)  Cathy Freeman (AUS)  Falilat Ogunkoya (NGR)
2000 Sydney
 Cathy Freeman (AUS)  Lorraine Graham (JAM)  Katharine Merry (GBR)
2004 Athens
 Tonique Williams-Darling (BAH)  Ana Guevara (MEX)  Natalya Antyukh (RUS)
2008 Beijing
 Christine Ohuruogu (GBR)  Shericka Williams (JAM)  Sanya Richards (USA)
2012 London
 Sanya Richards-Ross (USA)  Christine Ohuruogu (GBR)  DeeDee Trotter (USA)

World Championships medalists


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1983 Helsinki  Bert Cameron (JAM)  Michael Franks (USA)  Sunder Nix (USA)
1987 Rome  Thomas Schönlebe (GDR)  Innocent Egbunike (NGA)  Harry Reynolds (USA)
1991 Tokyo  Antonio Pettigrew (USA)  Roger Black (GBR)  Danny Everett (USA)
1993 Stuttgart  Michael Johnson (USA)  Butch Reynolds (USA)  Samson Kitur (KEN)
1995 Gothenburg  Michael Johnson (USA)  Butch Reynolds (USA)  Greg Haughton (JAM)
1997 Athens  Michael Johnson (USA)  Davis Kamoga (UGA)  Tyree Washington (USA)
1999 Seville  Michael Johnson (USA)  Sanderlei Claro Parrela (BRA)  Alejandro Cárdenas (MEX)
2001 Edmonton  Avard Moncur (BAH)  Ingo Schultz (GER)  Greg Haughton (JAM)
2003 Saint-Denis  Tyree Washington (USA)  Marc Raquil (FRA)  Michael Blackwood (JAM)
2005 Helsinki  Jeremy Wariner (USA)  Andrew Rock (USA)  Tyler Christopher (CAN)
2007 Osaka  Jeremy Wariner (USA)  LaShawn Merritt (USA)  Angelo Taylor (USA)
2009 Berlin  LaShawn Merritt (USA)  Jeremy Wariner (USA)  Renny Quow (TRI)
2011 Daegu  Kirani James (GRN)  LaShawn Merritt (USA)  Kévin Borlée (BEL)
2013 Moscow  LaShawn Merritt (USA)  Tony McQuay (USA)  Luguelín Santos (DOM)
2015 Beijing  Wayde van Niekerk (RSA)  LaShawn Merritt (USA)  Kirani James (GRN)


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1983 Helsinki  Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH)  Taťána Kocembová (TCH)  Mariya Pinigina (URS)
1987 Rome  Olga Bryzgina (URS)  Petra Muller (GDR)  Kirsten Emmelmann (GDR)
1991 Tokyo  Marie-José Pérec (FRA)  Grit Breuer (GER)  Sandra Myers (ESP)
1993 Stuttgart  Jearl Miles (USA)  Natasha Kaiser-Brown (USA)  Sandie Richards (JAM)
1995 Gothenburg  Marie-José Pérec (FRA)  Pauline Davis (BAH)  Jearl Miles (USA)
1997 Athens  Cathy Freeman (AUS)  Sandie Richards (JAM)  Jearl Miles Clark (USA)
1999 Seville  Cathy Freeman (AUS)  Anja Rücker (GER)  Lorraine Graham-Fenton (JAM)
2001 Edmonton  Amy Mbacke Thiam (SEN)  Lorraine Fenton (JAM)  Ana Guevara (MEX)
2003 Saint-Denis  Ana Guevara (MEX)  Lorraine Fenton (JAM)  Amy Mbacke Thiam (SEN)
2005 Helsinki  Tonique Williams-Darling (BAH)  Sanya Richards (USA)  Ana Guevara (MEX)
2007 Osaka  Christine Ohuruogu (GBR)  Nicola Sanders (GBR)  Novlene Williams (JAM)
2009 Berlin  Sanya Richards (USA)  Shericka Williams (JAM)  Antonina Krivoshapka (RUS)
2011 Daegu  Amantle Montsho (BOT)  Allyson Felix (USA)  Anastasiya Kapachinskaya (RUS)
2013 Moscow  Christine Ohuruogu (GBR)  Amantle Montsho (BOT)  Antonina Krivoshapka (RUS)
2015 Beijing  Allyson Felix (USA)  Shaunae Miller (BAH)  Shericka Jackson (JAM)

Season's bests

As of August 28, 2015

Notes and references

  1. ^ Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences, "Aerobic versus anaerobic training for success in various athletic events" by Shepard, R. J., 1978
  2. ^
  3. ^ "400m Results". IAAF. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "400m Results". IAAF. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "400m Results" (PDF). 5 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "400m Men - Heats Results". IAAF. 23 August 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "400m Men - Heats Results". IAAF. 23 August 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "400m Results". IAAF. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "400m Results". IAAF. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  11. ^

External links

  • All-time Masters men's 400 m list
  • All-time Masters women's 400 m list
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