Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Panathenaic Stadium, Athina
Date Started: April 6, 1896
Date Finished: April 7, 1896
The two best one-lap runners in 1896 were [Tom Burke] of the United States and Edgar Bredin of Britain. Burke had beaten Bredin at the 1895 [New York AC]-[London AC] meet, but Bredin was the co-holder of the world record with 48.5 for 440 yards. In early 1896, however, as so aptly put by Montague Shearman, Bredin )voluntarily joined the professional ranks, a step which was received with great surprise, as he was a gentleman by birth and education).
The heats of the 400 metres were held on 6 April. The race was slightly over one lap in length, with no lanes to separate the runners. There were two heats with seven runners coming to the start. In heat one, [Herbert Jamison] (USA) won, defeating [Fritz Hofmann] and [Kurt Doerry] of Germany, trailed by France's [Alphonse Grisel]. There was a false start in this heat, and Hofmann and Grisel were penalized two yards for their indiscretion. The second heat was won by the favorite, Tom Burke, who defeated Britain's [Charles Gmelin] and [Frantz Reichel] of France.
The finals followed on the next day, 7 April. Burke won very easily, in 54.2, with Jamison trailing him by as much as 15 metres. Third-place is disputed in later sources, with some listing Gmelin and some Hofmann, but Gmelin definitely finished 3rd per 1896 sources.
|1||Tom Burke||21||United States||USA||Gold||OR|
|2||Herbert Jamison||20||United States||USA||Silver|
|3||Charles Gmelin||23||Great Britain||GBR||Bronze|
|3 h2 r1/2||Frantz Reichel||25||France||FRA|
|AC h1 r1/2||Alphonse Grisel||France||FRA|
|AC h1 r1/2||Kurt Doerry||21||Germany||GER|