| Event type

400 metres, Men

Date1 – 5 August 2021
LocationJapan National Stadium, Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Participants48 from 33 countries

There was no single favorite in this event but two runners, Bahamian Steven Gardiner and American Michael Norman, were expecting to fight it out for the gold medal. The defending champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) was also considered highly, but in October 2017 he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament playing football (soccer), and he was not back to his pre-injury level. Also expected to challenge for the medals were Grenadian Kirani James, the 2012 London gold medalist and 2011 World Champion, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games Champion, Isaac Makwala of Botswana.

All of the favorites save for van Niekerk made it to the final, where they were joined by another top American, Michael Cherry. James had been especially impressive in winning his semi-final in 43.88, as Gardiner led the third semi-final over Norman and Makwala, with van Niekerk trailing and not qualifying.

In the final James and Norman were out fastest with James holding a narrow lead at the halfway mark, as Gardiner was a good three metres back. At 300 metres, James still led but Gardiner had closed on the final turn and was close. Gardiner passed James on the straight to win the gold medal, as James was also passed by the Colombian Anthony Zambrano, who had been a silver medalist at the 2017 World Championships. Cherry finished fourth and Norman fifth as no Americans won a medal, unusual for the event, and Makwala was never a factor, placing seventh.

Gardiner won the first athletics gold medal for the Bahamas. For James, it was his third consecutive Olympics on the podium, completing his set of Olympic medals, after gold in 2012, and silver in 2016.

1Steven GardinerBAHGold
2Anthony ZambranoCOLSilver
3Kirani JamesGRNBronze
4Michael CherryUSA
5Michael NormanUSA
6Christopher TaylorJAM
7Isaac MakwalaBOT
8Liemarvin BonevaciaNED
3 h2 r2/3Steven SolomonAUS
4 h1 r2/3Deon LendoreTTO
4 h2 r2/3Mazen Al-YassinKSA
4 h3 r2/3Demish GayeJAM
5 h1 r2/3Davide ReITA
5 h2 r2/3Leungo ScotchBOT
5 h3 r2/3Wayde van NiekerkRSA
6 h1 r2/3Ricky PetruccianiSUI
6 h2 r2/3Machel CedenioTTO
6 h3 r2/3Jochem DobberNED
7 h1 r2/3Luka JanežičSLO
7 h2 r2/3Alonzo RussellBAH
7 h3 r2/3Dwight St. HillaireTTO
8 h1 r2/3Jonathan SacoorBEL
8 h3 r2/3Jonathan JonesBAR
DNS r2/3Jonathan BorléeBEL
4 h2 r1/3Randolph RossUSA
4 h5 r1/3Nathon AllenJAM
4 h6 r1/3Edoardo ScottiITA
5 h2 r1/3Zakithi NeneRSA
5 h5 r1/3Sadam KoumiSUD
5 h6 r1/3Thapelo PhoraRSA
6 h1 r1/3Alex BeckAUS
6 h2 r1/3Jhon PerlazaCOL
6 h3 r1/3Gilles Anthony AfoumbaCGO
6 h4 r1/3Julian WalshJPN
6 h5 r1/3Marvin SchlegelGER
6 h6 r1/3Taha Hussein YaseenIRQ
7 h1 r1/3Ricardo dos SantosPOR
7 h2 r1/3Pavel MaslákCZE
7 h3 r1/3Lucas CarvalhoBRA
7 h4 r1/3Jovan StojoskiMKD
7 h5 r1/3Mikhail LitvinKAZ
7 h6 r1/3Óscar HusillosESP
8 h1 r1/3Bachir MahamatCHA
8 h2 r1/3Ahmed Al-YaariYEM
8 h3 r1/3Jahir RayhanBAN
8 h5 r1/3Karol ZalewskiPOL
8 h6 r1/3Todisoa Franck RabearisonMAD
AC h4 r1/3Emmanuel KorirKEN