| Event type

400 metres, Women

Date3 – 6 August 2021
LocationJapan National Stadium, Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Participants45 from 34 countries

The favorite was Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the defending gold medalist who had already run the 200 in Tokyo, finishing last in the final as she jogged home after realizing she was beaten. Her biggest challenger was expected to be Jamaican Stephenie McPherson. A sentimental choice was American Allyson Felix, by then 35-years-old. She had been among the world’s top 200 / 400 runners since 2005 and had 13 World Championship gold medals and six Olympic golds, but coming back from motherhood in 2018, her times were far from her best, and she was considered a longshot for a medal.

The semi-finals had few surprises as Miller-Uibo won the second easily, and McPherson won the third, with Dominican runner Marileidy Paulino winning the first semi-final in a national record 49.38. Felix also qualified, advancing behind McPherson in the third semi was a season best mark of 49.89.

In the final, McPherson took the lead on the first turn out of lane six. At 200 metres she led in 23.4 alongside Britain’s Jodie Williams, with Miller-Uibo and Felix a tenth behind. At that point SMU turned it on and was well ahead entering the final straight, 0.3 ahead of Felix, with McPherson and Paulino 0.6 back.

Miller-Uibo finished in 48.36 to win gold, setting a new North American record. Behind her Paulino was the strongest of the challengers, finishing in 49.20 for silver. Felix shocked all the experts by maintaining her speed to finish in 49.46, her second fastest time ever, to win the bronze medal.

Miller-Uibo became the second woman to defend Olympic gold in the 400 metres, after France’s Marie-José Pérec in 1992-96. Felix’s bronze was her 10th Olympic medal, the most ever by a woman, breaking her tie with Merlene Ottey. A few days later she would help the USA win gold in the 4x400 to finish her Olympic career with 11 medals and 7 gold medals.

1Shaunae Miller-UiboBAHGold
2Marileidy PaulinoDOMSilver
3Allyson FelixUSABronze
4Stephenie McPhersonJAM
5Candice McLeodJAM
6Jodie WilliamsGBR
7Quanera HayesUSA
AC r3/3Roxana GómezCUB
3 h2 r2/3Roneisha McGregorJAM
3 h3 r2/3Sada WilliamsBAR
4 h2 r2/3Wadeline JonathasUSA
4 h3 r2/3Natalia KaczmarekPOL
5 h1 r2/3Eleni ArtymataCYP
5 h2 r2/3Paola MoránMEX
5 h3 r2/3Kyra ConstantineCAN
6 h1 r2/3Susanne WalliAUT
6 h2 r2/3Lieke KlaverNED
6 h3 r2/3Amandine BrossierFRA
7 h1 r2/3Ama PipiGBR
7 h2 r2/3Aliyah AbramsGUY
7 h3 r2/3Cátia AzevedoPOR
8 h1 r2/3Lada VondrováCZE
8 h2 r2/3Aauri BokesaESP
8 h3 r2/3Lisanne de WitteNED
4 h4 r1/3Corinna SchwabGER
4 h5 r1/3Phil HealyIRL
5 h2 r1/3Bendere OboyaAUS
5 h3 r1/3Tiffani MarinhoBRA
5 h4 r1/3Eirini VasileiouGRE
5 h5 r1/3Hellen Syombua KaliiKEN
6 h1 r1/3Anita HorvatSLO
6 h3 r1/3Leni ShidaUGA
6 h4 r1/3Galefele MorokoBOT
6 h5 r1/3Agnė ŠerkšnienėLTU
6 h6 r1/3Barbora MalíkováCZE
7 h1 r1/3Patience Okon GeorgeNGR
7 h3 r1/3Samantha DirksBIZ
7 h5 r1/3Natassha McDonaldCAN
7 h6 r1/3Shalysa WrayCAY
8 h3 r1/3Tetiana MelnykUKR
8 h6 r1/3Christine BotlogetsweBOT
AC h2 r1/3Amantle MontshoBOT
AC h2 r1/3Meleni RodneyGRN
AC h2 r1/3Aliya BoshnakJOR
AC h4 r1/3Nicole YearginGBR
DNSCynthia BolingoBEL