Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Grand Arena, Central Lenin Stadium Area, Moskva
Date Started: July 31, 1980
Date Finished: August 1, 1980
The GDR team was favored, as they had won the gold medal in 1972 and 1976 and the European Championships in 1978. The Soviet Union pulled the same trick they had in the men's 4×400, running Olga Syrovatskaya-Minyeyeva and Lyudmila Chernova in the heats, after which they developed mysterious injuries. They were replaced in the final by Irina Nazarova and Nina Zyuskova. The two teams were close until near the end of the third leg, when East German runner Christina Lathan stepped on the curb and stumbled, allowing the USSR to take a lead of almost 10 metres. The GDR anchor runner was 400 world record holder and gold medalist Marita Koch. Koch ran the fastest leg yet recorded (48.27), but could not fully close the margin on Nazarova, as the Soviets won by two metres.