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Athletics at the 1972 München Summer Games:

Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay

Athletics at the 1972 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, München
Date Started: September 9, 1972
Date Finished: September 10, 1972

Gold: KEN Kenya
Silver: GBR Great Britain
Bronze: FRA France


The US had the three best 400 metre runners in München. The 400 had been won by [Vince Matthews], who had opened the 4x400 for the US in 1968, with [Wayne Collett] second. [John Smith] was actually considered the favorite for the 400 gold medal but went down in the final after running only a few metres, the victim of a hamstring injury. At the 400 medal ceremony, Matthews and Collett staged a mild protest, somewhat similar to [Tommie Smith] and [John Carlos] in 1968. As The Star-Spangled Banner played, they did not stand at attention, talked to each other, their warm-up jackets wide open, and did not even look at the US flag at it was raised. The IOC banned them from the Olympics. The US had nominated six runners for the 4x400 but with Matthews, Collett, and Smith out, they did not have a team. This left the event wide open. In their absence, Kenya won the gold medal. At the final exchange, Kenya and Great Britain were virtually even, but [Julius Sang] ran the anchor in 43.5 for Kenya to seal the victory.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 Kenya KEN Gold
2 Great Britain GBR Silver
3 France FRA Bronze
4 West Germany FRG
5 Poland POL
6 Finland FIN
7 Sweden SWE
8 Trinidad and Tobago TTO
3 h2 r1/2 Nigeria NGR
4 h1 r1/2 Canada CAN
4 h2 r1/2 Ethiopia ETH
4 h3 r1/2 Jamaica JAM
5 h1 r1/2 Yugoslavia YUG
5 h2 r1/2 Italy ITA
5 h3 r1/2 Venezuela VEN
6 h1 r1/2 Morocco MAR
6 h2 r1/2 Tanzania TAN
6 h3 r1/2 Malaysia MAS
7 h1 r1/2 Portugal POR
7 h2 r1/2 Senegal SEN
8 h2 r1/2 Sudan SUD