John Smith

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJohn Walton•Smith
Used nameJohn•Smith
Born5 August 1950 in Los Angeles, California (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 83 kg
AffiliationsSouthern California Striders, Anaheim (USA)
NOC United States


John Smith was AAU 440y champion in 1970-71, breaking the world record with 44.5 for 440y at the 1971 meet. He also won the NCAAs in 1971-72, running for UCLA. Smith was world-ranked #1 in 1971 and was the likely favorite for the 1972 Olympic 400. He made the final but an injured hamstring caused him to pull up on the first curve of the final. At the 1971 Pan American Games he won gold in the 400 metres as well as in the 4×400 metres relay (with Fred Newhouse and the non-Olympians Dale Alexander and Tommy Turner). He has since became a well-known sprint coach.

Personal Bests: 100y – 9.4 (1971); 220y – 20.7 (1970); 400 – 44.2y (1971); LJ – 7.43 (24-4½) (1968).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Summer Olympics Athletics USA John Smith
400 metres, Men (Olympic) AC r4/4
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States DNS

Special Notes