400-Meter Men's Olympic Medalists

LaShawn Merritt celebrates his Olympic 400-meter victory in 2008. Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

The 400-meter run has been a part of every men's Olympic track and field program, dating to the first modern Games in 1896. Among the best-known men's 400-meter gold medalists is Great Britain's Eric Liddell, whose 1924 success was dramatized in the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. American Michael Johnson is the only two-time gold medalist in this event, with victories in 1996 and 2000.

Kirani James of Grenada earned the 2012 gold medal, breaking a streak of seven consecutive American victories.

Three 400-meter world records have been set during the Olympics, by a total of four runners. Bill Carr was the first man to set a world mark during the Olympic 400, in 1932, while Lee Evans was the fourth. In 1960, American Otis Davis took the gold, with Germany's Carl Kaufmann second. Because records were then rounded off and calculated to just one decimal point, both went into the books with a world-record time of 44.9.

The biggest 400-meter controversy occurred in 1908, when American John Carpenter crossed the line first, to apparently prevail in the four-runner final. But Carpenter was disqualified, in a controversial ruling, for blocking British runner Wyndham Halswelle. Officials ruled that the race would be rerun, without Carpenter. Halswelle ran in the second race but the other two competitors, both Americans, refused to compete, in protest over Carpenter's disqualification.

That left Halswelle to win unopposed and to collect the only medal awarded.

Rules for Olympic sprint and relay races

  • 1896
    GOLD Thomas Burke, USA 54.2
    SILVER Herbert Jamison, USA 55.2
    BRONZE Charles Gmelin, GBR 58.0
  • 1900
    GOLD Maxie Long, USA 49.4
    SILVER William Holland, USA 49.6
    BRONZE Ernst Schulz, DEN 52.4
  • 1904
    GOLD Harry Hillman, USA 49.2
    SILVER Frank Waller, USA 49.9
    BRONZE Herman Groman, USA 50.0
  • 1906
    GOLD Paul Pilgrim, USA 53.2
    SILVER Wyndham Halswelle, GBR 53.8
    BRONZE Nigel Barker, AUS 54.1
  • 1908
    GOLD Wyndham Halswelle, GBR 50.0
  • 1912
    GOLD Charles Reidpath, USA 48.2
    SILVER Hanns Braun, GER 48.3
    BRONZE Edward Lindberg, USA 48.4
  • 1920
    GOLD Bevil Rudd, RSA 49.6
    SILVER Guy Butler, GBR 49.9
    BRONZE Nils Engdahl, SWE 50.0
  • 1924
    GOLD Eric Liddell,GBR 47.6
    SILVER Horatio Fitch, USA 48.4
    BRONZE Guy Butler, GBR 48.6
  • 1928
    GOLD Ray Barbuti, USA 47.8
    SILVER James Ball, CAN 47.9
    BRONZE Joachim Büchner, GER 48.1
  • 1932
    GOLD Bill Carr, USA 46.28
    SILVER Ben Eastman, USA 46.50
    BRONZE Alex Wilson, CAN 47.4
  • 1936
    GOLD Archie Williams, USA 46.66
    SILVER Godfrey Brown, GBR 46.68
    BRONZE James LuValle, USA 46.84
  • 1948
    GOLD Arthur Wint, JAM 46.3
    SILVER Herb McKenley, JAM 46.6
    BRONZE Mal Whitfield, USA 47.0
  • 1952
    GOLD George Rhoden, JAM 46.09
    SILVER Herb McKenley, JAM 46.20
    BRONZE Ollie Matson, USA 46.94
  • 1956
    GOLD Charles Jenkins, USA 46.85
    SILVER Karl-Friedrich Haas, GER 47.12
    BRONZE Voitto Hellsten, FIN 47.15
    BRONZE Ardalion Ignatyev, URS 47.15
  • 1960
    GOLD Otis Davis, USA 45.07
    SILVER Carl Kaufmann, GER 45.08
    BRONZE Malcolm Spence, RSA 45.60
  • 1964
    GOLD Mike Larrabee, USA 45.15
    SILVER Wendell Mottley, TRI 45.24
    BRONZE Andrzej Badenski, POL 45.64
  • 1968
    GOLD Lee Evans, USA 43.86
    SILVER Larry James, USA 43.97
    BRONZE Ron Freeman, USA 44.41
  • 1972
    GOLD Vince Matthews, USA 44.66
    SILVER Wayne Collett, USA 44.80
    BRONZE Julius Sang, KEN 44.92
  • 1976
    GOLD Alberto Juantorena, CUB 44.26
    SILVER Fred Newhouse, USA 44.40
    BRONZE Herman Frazier, USA 44.95
  • 1980
    GOLD Viktor Markin, URS 44.60
    SILVER Rick Mitchell, AUS 44.84
    BRONZE Frank Schaffer, GDR 44.87
  • 1984
    GOLD Alonzo Babers, USA 44.27
    SILVER Gabriel Tiacoh, CIV 44.54
    BRONZE Antonio McKay, USA 44.71
  • 1988
    GOLD Steve Lewis, USA 43.87
    SILVER Butch Reynolds, USA 43.93
    BRONZE Danny Everett, USA 44.09
  • 1992
    GOLD Quincy Watts, USA 43.50
    SILVER Steve Lewis, USA 44.21
    BRONZE Samson Kitur, KEN 44.24
  • 1996
    GOLD Michael Johnson, USA 43.49
    SILVER Roger Black, GBR 44.41
    BRONZE Davis Kamoga, UGA 44.53
  • 2000
    GOLD Michael Johnson, USA 43.84
    SILVER Alvin Harrison, USA 44.40
    BRONZE Greg Haughton, JAM 44.70
  • 2004
    GOLD Jeremy Wariner, USA 44.00
    SILVER Otis Harris, USA 44.16
    BRONZE Derrick Brew, USA 44.42
  • 2008
    GOLD LaShawn Merritt, USA 43.75
    SILVER Jeremy Wariner, USA 44.74
    BRONZE David Neville, USA 44.80
  • 2012
    GOLD Kirani James, GRN, 43.94
    SILVER Luquelin Santos, DOM, 44.46
    BRONZE Lalonde Gordon, TRI, 44.52

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