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Athletics at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay

Athletics at the 1952 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
Date Started: July 26, 1952
Date Finished: July 27, 1952

Gold: JAM Jamaica
Silver: USA United States
Bronze: GER Germany

Summary

As in 1952, the final was considered a two-team race between Jamaica and the United States. Ollie Matson, later an NFL running back, gave the US a slim lead on the opening leg over Jamaica’s 1948 400 metre champion, Arthur Wint. On the second leg, Gene Cole extended the US lead with a 45.5 leg. When Herb McKenley received the baton for his third leg, he was over 10 metres in arrears. Racing against 400 hurdles gold medalist Charlie Moore, McKenley ran the fastest 400 leg yet recorded, 44.6 – the first time any runner had bettered 45 seconds for 400 metres. As they neared the bell lap, McKenley gave Jamaica a narrow lead. The anchor was contested between Jamaica’s George Rhoden and the USA’s Mal Whitfield, who had won the 400 and 800 metre gold medals, respectively. Whitfield ran on Rhoden’s shoulder for the entire last lap, but could never quit pull even or pass him. Jamaica won the gold medal in the greatest 4x400 relay to that time, breaking the world record, with the United States also bettering the old mark, by over four seconds.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 Jamaica JAM Gold WR
2 United States USA Silver
3 Germany GER Bronze
4 Canada CAN
5 Great Britain GBR
6 France FRA
3 h1 r1/2 Sweden SWE
3 h2 r1/2 Hungary HUN
3 h3 r1/2 Soviet Union URS
4 h1 r1/2 Belgium BEL
4 h2 r1/2 Italy ITA
4 h3 r1/2 South Africa RSA
5 h1 r1/2 Luxembourg LUX
5 h2 r1/2 Switzerland SUI
5 h3 r1/2 Australia AUS
6 h1 r1/2 Finland FIN
6 h2 r1/2 Pakistan PAK
7 h1 r1/2 Japan JPN