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| Event type

4 x 400 metres Relay, Men

Date26 – 27 July 1952
StatusOlympic
LocationHelsingin Olympiastadion, Helsinki
Participants72 from 18 countries
Olympic Record 3:08.2 WR / United States USA / 7 August 1932

As in 1952, the final was considered a two-team race between Jamaica and the United States. Ollie Matson, later an NFL running back, gave the US a slim lead on the opening leg over Jamaica’s 1948 400 metre champion, Arthur Wint. On the second leg, Gene Cole extended the US lead with a 45.5 leg. When Herb McKenley received the baton for his third leg, he was over 10 metres in arrears. Racing against 400 hurdles gold medalist Charlie Moore, McKenley ran the fastest 400 leg yet recorded, 44.6 – the first time any runner had bettered 45 seconds for 400 metres. As they neared the bell lap, McKenley gave Jamaica a narrow lead. The anchor was contested between Jamaica’s George Rhoden and the USA’s Mal Whitfield, who had won the 400 and 800 metre gold medals, respectively. Whitfield ran on Rhoden’s shoulder for the entire last lap, but could never quit pull even or pass him. Jamaica won the gold medal in the greatest 4x400 relay to that time, breaking the world record, with the United States also bettering the old mark, by over four seconds.

PosNrTeamNOCR1Final
1JamaicaJAM3:12.1 (1 h1)3:03.9 (1)GoldWR
Arthur WintLes LaingHerb McKenleyGeorge RhodenByron LaBeach (DNS)
2United StatesUSA3:11.5 (1 h2)3:04.0 (2)Silver
Ollie MatsonGene ColeCharlie MooreMal WhitfieldThane Baker (DNS)John Barnes (DNS)J. W. Mashburn (DNS)Reggie Pearman (DNS)
3Unified Team of GermanyGER3:10.5 (1 h3)3:06.6 (3)Bronze
Hans GeisterGünther SteinesHeinz UlzheimerKarl-Friedrich HaasLeo Lickes (DNS)Urban Cleve (DNS)Günter Dohrow (DNS)Peter Kraus (DNS)
4CanadaCAN3:11.2 (2 h3)3:09.3 (4)
Doug ClementJack HutchinsJack CarrollJames LaveryJack Burney (DNS)Bob Hutchison (DNS)John Ross (DNS)Pete Sutton (DNS)
5Great BritainGBR3:12.5 (2 h2)3:10.0 (5)
Les LewisAlan DickTerry HigginsNick StaceyFrank Evans (DNS)David Gracie (DNS)Angus Scott (DNS)Albert Webster (DNS)
6FranceFRA3:12.6 (2 h1)3:10.1 (6)
Jean-Pierre GoudeauRobert BartJacques DegatsJean-Paul Martin du GardÉtienne Bally (DNS)Yves Camus (DNS)Patrick El Mabrouk (DNS)Jean Thureau (DNS)
3 h1 r1/2SwedenSWE3:13.4 (3 h1)
Gösta BrännströmTage EkfeldtRune LarssonLars-Erik WolfbrandtBo Åhlen (DNS)Hans Ring (DNS)Lars Ylander (DNS)
3 h2 r1/2HungaryHUN3:13.8 (3 h2)
Ferenc BánhalmiLajos SzentgáliEgon SolymossyZoltán AdamikPéter Karádi (DNS)Antal Lippay (DNS)
3 h3 r1/2Soviet UnionURS3:12.5 (3 h3)
Ardalion IgnatyevGennady SlepnyovEdmunds PīlāgsYury LituyevGrigory Ilyin (DNS)Heino Potter (DNS)Revas Trapaydze (DNS)Anatoly Yulin (DNS)
4 h1 r1/2BelgiumBEL3:15.8 (4 h1)
Albert LowagieAntoine UytterhoevenRoger MoensFernand LinssenOscar Soetewey (DNS)
4 h2 r1/2ItalyITA3:15.2 (4 h2)
Baldassare PortoGianni RoccaLuigi GrossiArmando FiliputVincenzo Lombardo (DNS)Antonio Siddi (DNS)
4 h3 r1/2South AfricaRSA3:14.8 (4 h3)
Louis van BiljonRon WilkieJohn AndertonBill ChivellSchalk Booysen (DNS)
5 h1 r1/2LuxembourgLUX3:16.2 (5 h1)
Roby SchaefferJean HamiliusFred HammerGérard RasquinJosy Barthel (DNS)Johnny Fonck (DNS)
5 h2 r1/2SwitzerlandSUI3:15.4 (5 h2)
Hans Ernst SchneiderSepp StegerPaul StalderErnst von GuntenWilly Eichenberger (DNS)Karl Schmid (DNS)Hans Schwarz (DNS)
5 h3 r1/2AustraliaAUS3:15.8 (5 h3)
Ray WeinbergMorris CurottaKen DoubledayEdwin Carr, Jr.John Landy (DNS)Don MacMillan (DNS)John Treloar (DNS)
6 h1 r1/2FinlandFIN3:16.4 (6 h1)
Pauli TavisaloOssi MildhRagnar GraeffeRolf BackArvo Hilli (DNS)Jaakko Suikkari (DNS)
6 h2 r1/2PakistanPAK3:23.2 (6 h2)
Abdul RehmanMuhammad ShafiMirza KhanAurang ZebMuhammad Fazil (DNS)
7 h1 r1/2JapanJPN3:20.3 (7 h1)
Junkichi MatobaEitaro OkanoHiroshi YamamotoYoshitaka MuroyaTomio Hosoda (DNS)Masaji Tajima (DNS)
DNSGreeceGRE
Ioannis KambadelisFotios KosmasVasilios MavroidisStefanos PetrakisVasilios Sillis
DNSPuerto RicoPUR
Francisco CastroAmadeo FrancisFrank RiveraHéctor Román
DNSThailandTHA
Pongummart UmmarttayakulBoonpak KwancharoenBoonterm PakpuangArun SankosikKamtorn SanidwongSompop SvadanandanaAdul Wanasatith
DNSTurkeyTUR
Doğan AcarbayEmin DoybakKemal HoruluEkrem KoçakCahit Önel

Round One (26 July 1952 — 17:00)

Top two in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosNrTeamNOCTime (H)Time (A)Split (Pos)
1JamaicaJAM3:12.13:12.13Q
295Herb McKenley47.547.5 (1)
294Les Laing48.61:36.1 (1)
297Arthur Wint47.62:23.7 (1)
296George Rhoden48.43:12.1 (1)
2FranceFRA3:12.63:12.72Q
601Jean-Pierre Goudeau48.648.6 (2)
615Robert Bart48.01:36.6 (2)
602Jacques Degats48.62:25.2 (3)
Jean-Paul Martin du Gard47.43:12.6 (3)
3SwedenSWE3:13.43:13.55
670Gösta Brännström48.748.7 (3)
672Tage Ekfeldt48.71:37.4 (3)
685Rune Larsson47.62:25.0 (2)
671Lars-Erik Wolfbrandt47.43:12.4 (2)
4BelgiumBEL3:15.83:16.05
37Albert Lowagie50.050.0 (6)
35Antoine Uytterhoeven50.01:40.0 (6)
36Roger Moens47.02:27.0 (4)
34Fernand Linssen48.83:15.8 (4)
5LuxembourgLUX3:16.23:16.38
408Roby Schaeffer50.150.1 (7)
407Jean Hamilius49.51:39.6 (5)
403Fred Hammer48.52:28.1 (5)
404Gérard Rasquin48.53:16.6 (6)
6FinlandFIN3:16.43:16.67
773Pauli Tavisalo49.749.7 (5)
776Ossi Mildh49.71:39.4 (4)
795Ragnar Graeffe48.92:28.3 (6)
775Rolf Back48.13:16.4 (5)
7JapanJPN3:20.33:20.55
302Junkichi Matoba49.549.5 (4)
303Eitaro Okano52.01:41.5 (7)
305Hiroshi Yamamoto50.02:31.5 (7)
304Yoshitaka Muroya48.83:20.3 (7)

Heat Two

PosNrTeamNOCTime (H)Time (A)Split (Pos)
1United StatesUSA3:11.53:11.67Q
987Ollie Matson48.148.1 (1)
988Gene Cole47.31:35.4 (1)
1006Charlie Moore46.62:22.0 (1)
996Mal Whitfield47.53:09.5 (1)
2Great BritainGBR3:12.53:12.67Q
173Les Lewis48.648.6 (2)
171Alan Dick48.41:37.0 (2)
172Terry Higgins47.22:24.2 (2)
170Nick Stacey48.33:12.5 (2)
3HungaryHUN3:13.83:13.96
933Ferenc Bánhalmi49.749.7 (4)
Lajos Szentgáli48.31:38.0 (5)
934Egon Solymossy48.32:26.3 (=3)
935Zoltán Adamik47.53:13.8 (3)
4ItalyITA3:15.23:15.23
Baldassare Porto49.349.3 (3)
247Gianni Rocca48.01:37.3 (3)
244Luigi Grossi49.02:26.3 (=3)
252Armando Filiput48.93:15.2 (4)
5SwitzerlandSUI3:15.43:15.36
846Hans Ernst Schneider49.849.8 (5)
847Sepp Steger48.01:37.8 (4)
Paul Stalder49.32:27.1 (5)
845Ernst von Gunten48.33:15.4 (5)
6PakistanPAK3:23.2
526Abdul Rehman50.050.0 (6)
533Muhammad Shafi52.01:42.0 (6)
532Mirza Khan51.02:33.0 (6)
527Aurang Zeb50.23:23.2 (6)

Heat Three

PosNrTeamNOCTime (H)Time (A)Split (Pos)
1Unified Team of GermanyGER3:10.53:10.57Q
736Günther Steines48.948.9 (3)
732Hans Geister47.21:36.1 (1)
734Heinz Ulzheimer47.32:23.4 (1)
733Karl-Friedrich Haas46.83:10.2 (1)
2CanadaCAN3:11.23:11.49Q
347Doug Clement49.249.2 (4)
351Jack Hutchins48.41:37.6 (3)
349Jack Carroll46.62:24.2 (2)
348James Lavery47.43:11.6 (2)
3Soviet UnionURS3:12.53:12.65
416Ardalion Ignatyev47.947.9 (1)
Gennady Slepnyov49.01:36.9 (2)
418Edmunds Pīlāgs48.32:25.2 (3)
417Yury Lituyev47.33:12.5 (3)
4South AfricaRSA3:14.83:15.09
107Louis van Biljon48.448.4 (2)
112Ron Wilkie49.71:38.1 (4)
106John Anderton48.92:27.0 (4)
Bill Chivell48.23:15.2 (4)
5AustraliaAUS3:15.83:16.00
19Ray Weinberg51.351.3 (5)
17Morris Curotta47.81:39.1 (5)
26Ken Doubleday50.02:29.1 (5)
20Edwin Carr, Jr.47.43:16.5 (5)

Final (27 July 1952 — 17:20)

PosNrTeamNOCTime (H)Time (A)Split (Pos)
1JamaicaJAM3:03.93:04.04WR
297Arthur Wint46.846.8 (2)
294Les Laing47.01:33.8 (2)
295Herb McKenley44.62:18.4 (1)
296George Rhoden45.53:03.9 (1)
2United StatesUSA3:04.03:04.21
987Ollie Matson46.746.7 (1)
988Gene Cole45.51:32.2 (1)
1006Charlie Moore46.32:18.5 (2)
996Mal Whitfield45.53:04.0 (2)
3Unified Team of GermanyGER3:06.63:06.78
732Hans Geister47.047.0 (3)
736Günther Steines47.31:34.3 (3)
734Heinz Ulzheimer46.52:20.8 (3)
733Karl-Friedrich Haas45.83:06.6 (3)
4CanadaCAN3:09.33:09.37
347Doug Clement49.049.0 (6)
351Jack Hutchins47.01:36.0 (=5)
349Jack Carroll46.02:22.0 (4)
348James Lavery47.33:09.3 (4)
5Great BritainGBR3:10.03:10.23
173Les Lewis47.947.9 (4)
171Alan Dick47.41:35.3 (4)
172Terry Higgins47.42:22.7 (5)
170Nick Stacey47.33:10.0 (5)
6FranceFRA3:10.13:10.33
601Jean-Pierre Goudeau48.548.5 (5)
615Robert Bart47.51:36.0 (=5)
602Jacques Degats47.32:23.3 (6)
Jean-Paul Martin du Gard46.83:10.1 (6)