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Athletics at the 2012 London Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres

Athletics at the 2012 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: August 4, 2012
Date Finished: August 6, 2012

Gold: GRN Kirani James
Silver: DOM Luguelín Santos
Bronze: TTO Lalonde Gordon

Summary

The United States had dominated the men's 400 metres at the Olympics, winning every gold medal since 1956, except for the boycott year of 1980, and Alberto Juantorena's victory in 1976. But this was not a given in 2012. The best American one-lap runners over the last decade had been LaShawn Merritt, the defending gold medalist, and Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 gold medalist. But Wariner failed to make the Olympic team, and Merritt pulled up in the first round in London, the victim of a bad hamstring.

This left the event wide open, but the favorite, despite Merritt and Wariner's status, had been the Grenadan 2011 World Champion, Kirani James. Many eyes were also looking to see how well the South African Oscar Pistorius would do. Nicknamed "The Blade Runner," the bilateral amputee ran on artificial limbs, and had won numerous titles at the Paralympics. Pistorius had made the Olympic qualifying time, although there was some controversy about his running, as some experts felt his blades gave him extra propulsion and could give him an advantage. If so, they were not enough, as he was last in semi-final two, won by James. The other semis were won by Trindadian Lalonde Gordon and Luguelín Santos of the Dominican Republic, the 2012 World Junior Champion.

The final was also notable for the presence of Belgian twins Kevin Borlée, the 2010 European Champion, and Jonathan Borlée, who had just missed a European record when he won his heat in 44.43, and the absence of the American runners. No American qualified for the final for the first time at the Olympics save for the boycott year of 1980. The early leader in the final was Bahamian Demetrius Pinder but he was caught by James before the halfway mark. James led at 200 in 21.3 followed by Santos in 21.4, and James would only increase his lead to the tape, winning gold in 43.94, with a 5-metre lead on Santos, Gordon coming for the bronze medal. The Borlées placed 5-6, with Kevin leading his brother, and Pinder faded to seventh.

This was the first ever Olympic gold medal in any sport by a Grenadian athlete. The podium was also unusual in that the three athletes all represented three different Caribbean nations, the first time this had ever happened at the Olympics. James' time also made him the first non-American to run under 44 seconds, and at only 19 years, 11 months, he was the second youngest ever under that barrier, behind only 1988 Olympic champion Steve Lewis.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Kirani James 19 Grenada GRN Gold
2 Luguelín Santos 19 Dominican Republic DOM Silver
3 Lalonde Gordon 23 Trinidad and Tobago TTO Bronze
4 Chris Brown 33 Bahamas BAH
5 Kevin Borlée 24 Belgium BEL
6 Jonathan Borlée 24 Belgium BEL
7 Demetrius Pinder 23 Bahamas BAH
8 Steven Solomon 19 Australia AUS
3 h3 r2/3 Bryshon Nellum 23 United States USA
4 h1 r2/3 Rabah Yusuf 25 Sudan SUD
4 h2 r2/3 Tony McQuay 22 United States USA
4 h3 r2/3 Ramon Miller 25 Bahamas BAH
5 h1 r2/3 Pavel Maslák 21 Czech Republic CZE
5 h2 r2/3 Maksim Dyldin 25 Russia RUS
5 h3 r2/3 Martyn Rooney 25 Great Britain GBR
6 h1 r2/3 Tabarie Henry 24 United States Virgin Islands ISV
6 h2 r2/3 Nigel Levine 23 Great Britain GBR
6 h3 r2/3 Dane Hyatt 28 Jamaica JAM
7 h1 r2/3 Pavel Trenikhin 26 Russia RUS
7 h2 r2/3 Albert Bravo 24 Venezuela VEN
7 h3 r2/3 Yousef Ahmed Masrahi 24 Saudi Arabia KSA
8 h1 r2/3 Conrad Williams 30 Great Britain GBR
8 h2 r2/3 Oscar Pistorius 25 South Africa RSA
8 h3 r2/3 Liemarvin Bonevacia 23 Individual Olympic Athletes IOA
4 h1 r1/3 Rusheen McDonald 19 Jamaica JAM
4 h2 r1/3 Isaac Makwala 26 Botswana BOT
4 h5 r1/3 Yuzo Kanemaru 24 Japan JPN
4 h6 r1/3 Marcell Deák Nagy 20 Hungary HUN
4 h7 r1/3 Nery Brenes 26 Costa Rica CRC
5 h1 r1/3 Vitaliy Butrym 21 Ukraine UKR
5 h2 r1/3 Deon Lendore 19 Trinidad and Tobago TTO
5 h3 r1/3 Donald Sanford 25 Israel ISR
5 h5 r1/3 Jānis Leitis 23 Latvia LAT
5 h6 r1/3 Winston George 25 Guyana GUY
5 h7 r1/3 Erison Hurtault 27 Dominica DMA
6 h2 r1/3 Daundre Barnaby 21 Canada CAN
6 h3 r1/3 Nelson Stone 28 Papua New Guinea PNG
6 h4 r1/3 Jermaine Gonzales 29 Jamaica JAM
6 h5 r1/3 Augusto Stanley 24 Paraguay PAR
6 h6 r1/3 Sajjad Hashemi 20 Iran IRI
6 h7 r1/3 Marcin Marciniszyn 29 Poland POL
7 h2 r1/3 Bereket Desta 22 Ethiopia ETH
7 h3 r1/3 Sergey Zaykov 24 Kazakhstan KAZ
7 h4 r1/3 Kristijan Efremov 21 Macedonia MKD
8 h2 r1/3 Bahaa Al-Farra 21 Palestine PLE
8 h3 r1/3 Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Rositi 21 Brunei BRU
8 h4 r1/3 Thet Zaw Win 21 Myanmar MYA
AC LaShawn Merritt 26 United States USA DNF
AC Mathieu Gnanligo 25 Benin BEN DNF