| Event type

400 metres, Men

Date16 – 18 October 1968
LocationEstadio Olímpico Universitario, Ciudad de México
Participants55 from 36 countries
Olympic Record 44.9 WR / Carl Kaufmann GER / 6 September 1960
44.9 WR / Otis Davis USA / 6 September 1960

The US was dominant in this event in 1968. They had six the fastest 10 men in the world and at the Olympic Trials, both Lee Evans and Larry James bettered the world record with hand times of 44.0. A US sweep seemed possible, as the third US runner, Ron Freeman, had recorded 44.6 in the Trials. After the tumult that followed the 200 metre victory ceremony, in which Tommie Smith and John Carlos, were expelled from the Olympics by the US Olympic Committee, Evans wanted to withdraw from the final. But Smith and Carlos convinced Evans to run – they were college teammates at San Jose State. Evans started quickly in the final and expected to have a lead coming to the homestraight. But he was worried when he saw that James was right on his shoulder. He pulled away slightly, but James then closed to only a metre back at the finish, as both lowered the world record with Evans finishing in 43.86 and James in 43.97 – the first time anyone had run under 44 seconds for 400 metres. Freeman completed the US sweep.

Evans’ time was officially 43.8, as the official times were only to the tenth of a second in 1968. His automatic time in 1968 was 43.79, but the 1968 automatic times had a built-in 0.05 second delay to allow for response time. This no longer is used, making his actual time 43.84. However, in the early 1970s when the IAAF starting using 1/100ths times for record purposes, they redefined the torso (when crossing the line) to not include the neck, which made Evans’ time 43.86 after re-reading the photo finish timer. The mark lasted as a world record until 1988 when Butch Reynolds ran 43.29 at the Weltklasse in Zürich.

1270Lee EvansUSA45.3 (1 h1)45.5 (2 h2)44.8 (1 h2)43.8 (1)GoldWR
2280Larry JamesUSA45.8 (3 h2)45.7 (2 h1)44.9 (2 h2)43.9 (2)Silver
3273Ron FreemanUSA45.6 (3 h3)45.3 (1 h4)45.4 (2 h1)44.4 (3)Bronze
4708Amadou GakouSEN45.3 (1 h3)45.5 (1 h1)45.1 (1 h1)45.0 (4)
519Martin JellinghausFRG46.4 (1 h4)45.9 (2 h3)44.9 (3 h2)45.3 (5)
6321Tegegne BezabehETH45.5 (2 h3)46.0 (3 h3)45.5 (4 h1)45.4 (6)
7661Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.5 (1 h2)45.6 (2 h4)45.4 (3 h1)45.4 (7)
8789Amos OmoloUGA45.8 (1 h5)45.3 (1 h2)45.4 (4 h2)47.6 (8)
5 h1 r3/4379Sam BugriGHA45.8 (4 h1)46.0 (4 h3)45.9 (5 h1)
5 h2 r3/4686Jan WernerPOL45.9 (1 h6)45.6 (1 h3)45.7 (5 h2)
6 h1 r3/432Helmar MüllerFRG45.9 (4 h5)45.7 (3 h4)46.2 (6 h1)
6 h2 r3/4569Munyoro NyamauKEN45.9 (2 h5)46.1 (3 h2)46.3 (6 h2)
7 h1 r3/4770Claver KamanyaTAN45.7 (2 h1)46.0 (3 h1)46.2 (7 h1)
7 h2 r3/4361Jean-Claude NalletFRA45.9 (3 h5)45.7 (4 h4)49.0 (7 h2)
8 h1 r3/478Wolfgang MüllerGDR46.6 (1 h8)46.2 (4 h2)48.3 (8 h1)
8 h2 r3/4172Ross MacKenzieCAN47.0 (4 h4)46.1 (4 h1)49.2 (8 h2)
5 h1 r2/4637Musa Dogon YaroNGR46.2 (3 h7)46.1 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/4662Jan BalachowskiPOL46.2 (2 h7)46.3 (5 h2)
5 h3 r2/4532Clifton ForbesJAM45.7 (2 h2)46.2 (5 h3)
5 h4 r2/4434Martin Winbolt-LewisGBR46.2 (2 h6)45.9 (5 h4)
6 h1 r2/4393Colin CampbellGBR46.6 (2 h8)46.3 (6 h1)
6 h2 r2/4200Rodobaldo DíazCUB46.4 (4 h3)46.3 (6 h2)
6 h3 r2/4571Daniel RudishaKEN46.9 (4 h2)47.6 (6 h3)
6 h4 r2/494Michael ZerbesGDR46.8 (3 h4)46.1 (6 h4)
7 h1 r2/4563Naftali BonKEN46.2 (1 h7)46.3 (7 h1)
7 h2 r2/499Juan Carlos DyrzkaARG47.0 (4 h8)46.8 (7 h2)
7 h3 r2/4346Gilles BertouldFRA46.3 (4 h7)48.9 (7 h3)
7 h4 r2/4642Mamman MakamaNGR46.4 (3 h6)46.4 (7 h4)
8 h1 r2/4496Sergio BelloITA46.5 (4 h6)46.8 (8 h1)
8 h4 r2/4182Pedro GrajalesCOL46.7 (2 h4)46.5 (8 h4)
3 h1 r1/4363Christian NicolauFRA45.7 (3 h1)– (DNS h2)
3 h8 r1/4514Sergio OttolinaITA46.7 (3 h8)– (DNS h3)
5 h1 r1/422Manfred KinderFRG46.9 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/4720Angelo HusseinSUD47.7 (5 h2)
5 h3 r1/4248Ramón MagariñosESP46.9 (5 h3)
5 h4 r1/4397Howard DaviesGBR47.2 (5 h4)
5 h5 r1/4843José Jacinto HidalgoVEN46.3 (5 h5)
5 h6 r1/4211Eddy TéllezCUB46.7 (5 h6)
5 h7 r1/4167Don DomanskyCAN46.4 (5 h7)
5 h8 r1/4778George SimonTTO47.9 (5 h8)
6 h1 r1/4857Ezra BurnhamBAR47.9 (6 h1)
6 h2 r1/4586Victor AsirvathamMAS48.0 (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/4638Anthony EgwunyengaNGR47.3 (6 h3)
6 h4 r1/4138Jacques PennewaertBEL48.5 (6 h4)
6 h5 r1/4205Carlos MartínezCUB47.2 (6 h5)
6 h6 r1/4483Noel CarrollIRL46.8 (6 h6)
6 h7 r1/4622Melesio PiñaMEX46.8 (6 h7)
6 h8 r1/4599Omar GhizlatMAR48.2 (6 h8)
7 h3 r1/4629Francisco MenocalNCA49.1 (7 h3)
7 h4 r1/4234José AstacioESA52.9 (7 h4)
7 h5 r1/4147Tony HarperBER49.1 (7 h5)
7 h6 r1/4697José L'OficialDOM47.9 (7 h6)
7 h7 r1/4127Leslie MillerBAH46.9 (7 h7)
7 h8 r1/4764Kun Min-MuTPE49.0 (7 h8)
8 h7 r1/4195Yoyaga Dit CoulibalyCIV50.0 (8 h7)

Round One (16 October 1968 — 15:40)

Top four in each heat advanced to the quarter-finals.

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Lee EvansUSA45.345.40Q
24Claver KamanyaTAN45.745.74Q
32Christian NicolauFRA45.745.77Q
45Sam BugriGHA45.845.88Q
57Manfred KinderFRG46.946.95
63Ezra BurnhamBAR47.947.94

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.545.52Q
22Clifton ForbesJAM45.745.75Q
37Larry JamesUSA45.845.83Q
44Daniel RudishaKEN46.946.96Q
56Angelo HusseinSUD47.747.80
63Victor AsirvathamMAS48.048.02

Heat Three

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
16Amadou GakouSEN45.345.39Q
22Tegegne BezabehETH45.545.60Q
33Ron FreemanUSA45.645.67Q
44Rodobaldo DíazCUB46.446.48Q
51Ramón MagariñosESP46.946.92
67Anthony EgwunyengaNGR47.347.37
75Francisco MenocalNCA49.149.14

Heat Four

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
17Martin JellinghausFRG46.446.50Q
24Pedro GrajalesCOL46.746.73Q
35Michael ZerbesGDR46.846.84Q
46Ross MacKenzieCAN47.047.05Q
52Howard DaviesGBR47.247.30
61Jacques PennewaertBEL48.548.55
73José AstacioESA52.952.92

Heat Five

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Amos OmoloUGA45.845.85Q
25Munyoro NyamauKEN45.945.91Q
34Jean-Claude NalletFRA45.945.93Q
46Helmar MüllerFRG45.945.98Q
57José Jacinto HidalgoVEN46.346.32
62Carlos MartínezCUB47.247.28
73Tony HarperBER49.149.18

Heat Six

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Jan WernerPOL45.945.97Q
23Martin Winbolt-LewisGBR46.246.27Q
34Mamman MakamaNGR46.446.49Q
47Sergio BelloITA46.546.54Q
56Eddy TéllezCUB46.746.80
62Noel CarrollIRL46.846.83
75José L'OficialDOM47.947.93

Heat Seven

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
18Naftali BonKEN46.246.21Q
23Jan BalachowskiPOL46.246.23Q
32Musa Dogon YaroNGR46.246.24Q
46Gilles BertouldFRA46.346.31Q
54Don DomanskyCAN46.446.46
67Melesio PiñaMEX46.846.81
75Leslie MillerBAH46.946.99
81Yoyaga Dit CoulibalyCIV50.050.11

Heat Eight

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Wolfgang MüllerGDR46.646.66Q
24Colin CampbellGBR46.646.66Q
36Sergio OttolinaITA46.746.78Q
48Juan Carlos DyrzkaARG47.047.02Q
55George SimonTTO47.947.95
67Omar GhizlatMAR48.248.23
71Kun Min-MuTPE49.049.07

Quarter-Finals (17 October 1968 — 15:20)

Top four in each heat advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
17Amadou GakouSEN45.545.56Q
22Larry JamesUSA45.745.77Q
33Claver KamanyaTAN46.046.03Q
44Ross MacKenzieCAN46.146.15Q
56Musa Dogon YaroNGR46.146.19
61Colin CampbellGBR46.346.35
78Naftali BonKEN46.346.39
85Sergio BelloITA46.846.84

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14Amos OmoloUGA45.345.33Q
27Lee EvansUSA45.545.54Q
36Munyoro NyamauKEN46.146.12Q
42Wolfgang MüllerGDR46.246.32Q
53Jan BalachowskiPOL46.346.33
61Rodobaldo DíazCUB46.346.38
75Juan Carlos DyrzkaARG46.846.85
DNS8Christian NicolauFRA

Heat Three

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Jan WernerPOL45.645.63Q
25Martin JellinghausFRG45.946.00Q
34Tegegne BezabehETH46.046.02Q
47Sam BugriGHA46.046.08Q
56Clifton ForbesJAM46.246.29
63Daniel RudishaKEN47.647.68
72Gilles BertouldFRA48.948.91
DNS8Sergio OttolinaITA

Heat Four

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
17Ron FreemanUSA45.345.31Q
24Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.645.60Q
36Helmar MüllerFRG45.745.78Q
48Jean-Claude NalletFRA45.745.80Q
53Martin Winbolt-LewisGBR45.945.91
65Michael ZerbesGDR46.146.19
71Mamman MakamaNGR46.446.41
82Pedro GrajalesCOL46.546.53

Semi-Finals (17 October 1968 — 18:00)

Top four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Amadou GakouSEN45.145.17Q
28Ron FreemanUSA45.445.47Q
31Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.445.50Q
43Tegegne BezabehETH45.545.60Q
56Sam BugriGHA45.945.92
62Helmar MüllerFRG46.246.22
77Claver KamanyaTAN46.246.22
84Wolfgang MüllerGDR48.348.37

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14Lee EvansUSA44.844.83QOR
21Larry JamesUSA44.944.88Q
33Martin JellinghausFRG44.945.06Q
45Amos OmoloUGA45.445.52Q
58Jan WernerPOL45.745.75
62Munyoro NyamauKEN46.346.37
76Jean-Claude NalletFRA49.049.01
87Ross MacKenzieCAN49.249.28

Final (18 October 1968 — 15:50)

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
16Lee EvansUSA43.843.86WR
22Larry JamesUSA43.943.97
31Ron FreemanUSA44.444.41
45Amadou GakouSEN45.045.01
53Martin JellinghausFRG45.345.33
64Tegegne BezabehETH45.445.42
77Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.445.42
88Amos OmoloUGA47.647.61