Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Seoul Sports Complex, Seoul
Date Started: September 30, 1988
Date Finished: October 1, 1988
Anticipation was high for the final in this event, with the United States, the GDR, and the Soviet Union considered equal favorites. The Soviets were led by 400 champion Olha Bryzhina while the US was led by 100/200 champion Florence Griffith Joyner, who was a talented 400 runner. All three teams qualified easily for the final, which did not disappoint, some track experts considering this the greatest Olympic final ever run. Denean Howard put the US ahead on the first leg but the Soviets Olga Nazarova ran 47.82 on the second leg to put the USSR eight metres in front. The GDR had fallen back and would not challenge for the gold medal. Valerie Brisco, 200/400 champion in 1984, ran the third leg for the US and brought the baton to Griffith Joyner with only a half-metre deficit. FloJo moved to Bryzhina's shoulder on the backstretch and seemed ready to pounce, as the crowd looked for her to move ahead at any time. But it never happened. Griffith Joyner moved up slightly on the final turn but that was as close as she got, Bryzhina pulling away to win by three metres, and outrunning FloJo – 47.80 to 48.08. Both teams finished under the world record, with the Soviet Union posting 3:15.18, which still stood as the world record through 2011.