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Athletics at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:

Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay

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Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): University Olympic Stadium, Ciudad de México
Date Started: October 19, 1968
Date Finished: October 20, 1968

Gold: USA United States
Silver: KEN Kenya
Bronze: FRG West Germany

Summary

Having swept the medals in the 400 metres, the US could only lose by dropping the baton or an injury. In the heats the US equaled the Olympic record with 3:00.71. Aided by altitude the American team was dominant in the final, defeating Kenya by over 30 metres in a mark that shattered the world record of 2:59.6. The mark of 2:56.16 was altitude aided, but would last until it was equaled at the 1988 Olympics by another US relay team and it would not be broken until the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Despite the acclaim given to Bob Beamon’s long jump mark, this was the world record from Ciudad de México that lasted for the longest period of time. The US actually did not lead on the opening leg, as Charles Asati put Kenya four metres ahead of Vince Matthews. But the outcome was settled on the second leg when 400 bronze medalist Ron Freeman ran 43.2, the fastest leg to that time, and still a remarkable time. With Larry James, the 400 silver medalist, and Lee Evans, the gold medalist, running the last two legs, the race was over.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 United States USA Gold WR
2 Kenya KEN Silver
3 West Germany FRG Bronze
4 Poland POL
5 Great Britain GBR
6 Trinidad and Tobago TTO
7 Italy ITA
8 France FRA
3 h2 r1/2 Nigeria NGR
4 h1 r1/2 East Germany GDR
4 h2 r1/2 Senegal SEN
4 h3 r1/2 Cuba CUB
5 h1 r1/2 Dominican Republic DOM
5 h3 r1/2 Venezuela VEN
6 h3 r1/2 Mexico MEX
7 h3 r1/2 Canada CAN