Host City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue(s): Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Stockholm
Date Started: July 8, 1912
Date Finished: July 9, 1912
With five of the six finalists in the 100 metres, the United States was a heavy favorite. But after walking over in round one, the U.S. was disqualified in the first heat of the semis for a baton exchange outside the zone.
The finalists were Great Britain, Sweden, and Germany. In the semi-finals, each of the winners broke the previous world record of 43.5, which had been set by a German team on 19 May 1912. Germany recorded 42.3 in winning heat three and was favored in the final, in the United States’ absence. But Germany also fell prey to a faulty baton pass in the final, and was disqualified.
However, even without the penalty, Germany did not win the race. Great Britain held them off, with William Applegarth refusing to allow Richard Rau to pass him in the final straight. Both were timed in 42.4, as Britain won by a few centimetres. After the German disqualification, Sweden was awarded the silver medals.