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Athletics at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres

Athletics at the 1956 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 28, 1956
Date Finished: November 29, 1956

Gold: USA Charlie Jenkins
Silver: GER Karl-Friedrich Haas
Bronze: FIN Voitto Hellstén
URS Ardalion Ignatyev


In 1955, American [Lou Jones] had set the world record of 45.4 in winning the Pan American Games. But that mark was specious, as it was set at the altitude of Ciudad de México. Still, Jones had won the US Olympic Trials and was favored. He was expected to be pushed by his teammate, [Charlie Jenkins], the 1955 AAU Champion, and 1954 European Champion, [Ardalion Ignatyev] (URS). In the final, Jones was drawn in the outside lane and led by two metres at the 200 mark. But Ignatyev caught him by 300 metres as Jones tied up and was never again a factor. Jenkins had started slowly but had plenty left. He caught Ignatyev with 50 metres left and won by two metres over Germany's [Karl-Friedrich Haas]. Ignatyev tied for third with Finland's [Voitto Hellstén]. The final time (46.7 for Jenkins) was slow, but the day was windy and the final and semi-finals were held on the same day, for the last time at the Olympics.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalSemi-FinalsQuarter-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Charlie Jenkins 22 United States USA Gold
2 Karl-Friedrich Haas 25 Germany GER Silver
3T Voitto Hellstén 24 Finland FIN Bronze
3T Ardalion Ignatyev 25 Soviet Union URS Bronze
5 Lou Jones 24 United States USA
6 Malcolm Spence 19 South Africa RSA
4 h1 r3/4 Mel Spence 20 Jamaica JAM
4 h2 r3/4 Kevan Gosper 22 Australia AUS
5 h1 r3/4 Peter Higgins 28 Great Britain GBR
5 h2 r3/4 John Salisbury 22 Great Britain GBR
6 h1 r3/4 Iván Rodríguez 19 Puerto Rico PUR
6 h2 r3/4 Mal Spence 20 Jamaica JAM
4 h1 r2/4 Terry Tobacco 20 Canada CAN
4 h2 r2/4 Graham Gipson 24 Australia AUS
4 h3 r2/4 Pierre Haarhoff 24 France FRA
4 h4 r2/4 George Kerr 19 Jamaica JAM
5 h1 r2/4 Jürgen Kühl 21 Germany GER
5 h2 r2/4 Jacques Degats 26 France FRA
5 h3 r2/4 Jim Lea 24 United States USA
5 h4 r2/4 Mike Wheeler 21 Great Britain GBR
6 h2 r2/4 Murray Cockburn 23 Canada CAN
6 h3 r2/4 Kibet Boit Kenya KEN
6 h4 r2/4 Jean-Paul Martin du Gard 29 France FRA
3 h1 r1/4 Abdullah Khan Pakistan PAK
4 h1 r1/4 Konstantin Grachov 29 Soviet Union URS
4 h2 r1/4 Bartonjo Rotich 18 Kenya KEN
4 h3 r1/4 Abebe Hailou 23 Ethiopia ETH
4 h4 r1/4 Laird Sloan 21 Canada CAN
4 h5 r1/4 Milkha Singh 21 India IND
4 h6 r1/4 Kamau Wanyoke Kenya KEN
4 h7 r1/4 Gérard Rasquin 29 Luxembourg LUX
4 h8 r1/4 John Goodman 19 Australia AUS
5 h1 r1/4 Beyene Legesse Ethiopia ETH
5 h2 r1/4 Jaime Aparicio 27 Colombia COL
5 h3 r1/4 Abdul Karim Amu 23 Nigeria NGR
5 h4 r1/4 Somsak Thonf Ar-Ram 22 Thailand THA
5 h7 r1/4 Abdul Rahim bin Ahmed 23 Malaya MAL
5 h8 r1/4 Ajanew Bayene 20 Ethiopia ETH
6 h2 r1/4 Pablo Somblingo Philippines PHI
6 h7 r1/4 George Johnson 18 Liberia LBR
7 h2 r1/4 Kenneth Perera 22 Malaya MAL
AC h1 r1/4 Kanji Akagi 23 Japan JPN
AC h8 r1/4 Horst Mann 29 Germany GER