| Event type

400 metres, Men

Date6 – 7 April 1896
LocationPanathinaiko Stadio, Athina
Participants7 from 4 countries

The two best one-lap runners in 1896 were Tom Burke of the United States and Edgar Bredin of Britain. Burke had beaten Bredin at the 1895 New York AC-London AC meet, but Bredin was the co-holder of the world record with 48.5 for 440 yards. In early 1896, however, as so aptly put by Montague Shearman, Bredin )voluntarily joined the professional ranks, a step which was received with great surprise, as he was a gentleman by birth and education).

The heats of the 400 metres were held on 6 April. The race was slightly over one lap in length, with no lanes to separate the runners. There were two heats with seven runners coming to the start. In heat one, Herbert Jamison (USA) won, defeating Fritz Hofmann and Kurt Doerry of Germany, trailed by France’s Alphonse Grisel. There was a false start in this heat, and Hofmann and Grisel were penalized two yards for their indiscretion. The second heat was won by the favorite, Tom Burke, who defeated Britain’s Charles Gmelin and Frantz Reichel of France.

The finals followed on the next day, 7 April. Burke won very easily, in 54.2, with Jamison trailing him by as much as 15 metres. Third-place is disputed in later sources, with some listing Gmelin and some Hofmann, but Gmelin definitely finished 3rd per 1896 sources.

1Tom BurkeUSA58.4 (1 h2)54.2 (1)GoldOR
2Herbert JamisonUSA56.8 (1 h1)55.2 (2)Silver
3Charles GmelinGBRat 15 yards (2 h2)at 15-20 metres (3)Bronze
4Fritz HofmannGER58.6 (2 h1)– (4)
3 h2 r1/2Frantz ReichelFRAat 12 yards (3 h2)
AC h1 r1/2Adolphe GriselFRA– (AC h1)
AC h1 r1/2Kurt DoerryGER– (AC h1)
DNSLuis SubercaseauxCHI
DNSKonstantinos MouratisGRE
DNSLeonidasz MannoHUN
DNSFritz TraunGER
DNSTeddy FlackAUS
DNSGeorges de la NézièreFRA
DNS13Launceston ElliotGBR
DNSGrantley GouldingGBR
DNSGeorge MarshallGBR
DNSNándor DániHUN

Round One (6 April 1896 — 17:10)

Top two in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One (17:10)

1Herbert JamisonUSA56.8QOR
2Fritz HofmannGER58.6Q1
ACAdolphe GriselFRA2
ACKurt DoerryGER

Heat Two

1Tom BurkeUSA58.4Q
2Charles GmelinGBRat 15 yardsQ
3Frantz ReichelFRAat 12 yards

Final (7 April 1896 — 15:30)

1Tom BurkeUSA54.2OR
2Herbert JamisonUSA55.2
3Charles GmelinGBRat 15-20 metres
4Fritz HofmannGER