| Event type

400 metres, Men

Date16 – 18 October 1968
LocationEstadio Olímpico Universitario, Ciudad de México
Participants55 from 36 countries

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 r1/4195Coulibaly YoyagaCIV50.0 (8 h7)
DNS159Étienne TchakamCMR

Round One

Date16 October 1968 — 15:40
FormatTop four in each heat advanced to the quarter-finals.

Heat #1

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1270Lee EvansUSA45.345.40Q
2770Claver KamanyaTAN45.745.74Q
3363Christian NicolauFRA45.745.77Q
4379Sam BugriGHA45.845.88Q
522Manfred KinderFRG46.946.95
6857Ezra BurnhamBAR47.947.94

Heat #2

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1661Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.545.52Q
2532Clifton ForbesJAM45.745.75Q
3280Larry JamesUSA45.845.83Q
4571Daniel RudishaKEN46.946.96Q
5720Angelo HusseinSUD47.747.80
6586Victor AsirvathamMAS48.048.02

Heat #3

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1708Amadou GakouSEN45.345.39Q
2321Tegegne BezabehETH45.545.60Q
3273Ron FreemanUSA45.645.67Q
4200Rodobaldo DíazCUB46.446.48Q
5248Ramón MagariñosESP46.946.92
6638Anthony EgwunyengaNGR47.347.37
7629Francisco MenocalNCA49.149.14

Heat #4

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
119Martin JellinghausFRG46.446.50Q
2182Pedro GrajalesCOL46.746.73Q
394Michael ZerbesGDR46.846.84Q
4172Ross MacKenzieCAN47.047.05Q
5397Howard DaviesGBR47.247.30
6138Jacques PennewaertBEL48.548.55
7234José AstacioESA52.952.92

Heat #5

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1789Amos OmoloUGA45.845.85Q
2569Munyoro NyamauKEN45.945.91Q
3361Jean-Claude NalletFRA45.945.93Q
432Helmar MüllerFRG45.945.98Q
5843José Jacinto HidalgoVEN46.346.32
6205Carlos MartínezCUB47.247.28
7147Tony HarperBER49.149.18

Heat #6

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1686Jan WernerPOL45.945.97Q
2434Martin Winbolt-LewisGBR46.246.27Q
3642Mamman MakamaNGR46.446.49Q
4496Sergio BelloITA46.546.54Q
5211Eddy TéllezCUB46.746.80
6483Noel CarrollIRL46.846.83
7697José L'OficialDOM47.947.93

Heat #7

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1563Naftali BonKEN46.246.21Q
2662Jan BalachowskiPOL46.246.23Q
3637Musa Dogon YaroNGR46.246.24Q
4346Gilles BertouldFRA46.346.31Q
5167Don DomanskyCAN46.446.46
6622Melesio PiñaMEX46.846.81
7127Leslie MillerBAH46.946.99
8195Coulibaly YoyagaCIV50.050.11

Heat #8

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
178Wolfgang MüllerGDR46.646.66Q
2393Colin CampbellGBR46.646.66Q
3514Sergio OttolinaITA46.746.78Q
499Juan Carlos DyrzkaARG47.047.02Q
5778George SimonTTO47.947.95
6599Omar GhizlatMAR48.248.23
7764Kun Min-MuTPE49.049.07


Date17 October 1968 — 15:20
FormatTop four in each heat advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat #1

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1708Amadou GakouSEN45.545.56Q
2280Larry JamesUSA45.745.77Q
3770Claver KamanyaTAN46.046.03Q
4172Ross MacKenzieCAN46.146.15Q
5637Musa Dogon YaroNGR46.146.19
6393Colin CampbellGBR46.346.35
7563Naftali BonKEN46.346.39
8496Sergio BelloITA46.846.84

Heat #2

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1789Amos OmoloUGA45.345.33Q
2270Lee EvansUSA45.545.54Q
3569Munyoro NyamauKEN46.146.12Q
478Wolfgang MüllerGDR46.246.32Q
5662Jan BalachowskiPOL46.346.33
6200Rodobaldo DíazCUB46.346.38
799Juan Carlos DyrzkaARG46.846.85
DNS363Christian NicolauFRA

Heat #3

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1686Jan WernerPOL45.645.63Q
219Martin JellinghausFRG45.946.00Q
3321Tegegne BezabehETH46.046.02Q
4379Sam BugriGHA46.046.08Q
5532Clifton ForbesJAM46.246.29
6571Daniel RudishaKEN47.647.68
7346Gilles BertouldFRA48.948.91
DNS514Sergio OttolinaITA

Heat #4

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1273Ron FreemanUSA45.345.31Q
2661Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.645.60Q
332Helmar MüllerFRG45.745.78Q
4361Jean-Claude NalletFRA45.745.80Q
5434Martin Winbolt-LewisGBR45.945.91
694Michael ZerbesGDR46.146.19
7642Mamman MakamaNGR46.446.41
8182Pedro GrajalesCOL46.546.53


Date17 October 1968 — 18:00
FormatTop four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat #1

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1708Amadou GakouSEN45.145.17Q
2273Ron FreemanUSA45.445.47Q
3661Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.445.50Q
4321Tegegne BezabehETH45.545.60Q
5379Sam BugriGHA45.945.92
632Helmar MüllerFRG46.246.22
7770Claver KamanyaTAN46.246.22
878Wolfgang MüllerGDR48.348.37

Heat #2

PosLaneCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1270Lee EvansUSA44.844.83QOR
2280Larry JamesUSA44.944.88Q
319Martin JellinghausFRG44.945.06Q
4789Amos OmoloUGA45.445.52Q
5686Jan WernerPOL45.745.75
6569Munyoro NyamauKEN46.346.37
7361Jean-Claude NalletFRA49.049.01
8172Ross MacKenzieCAN49.249.28


Date18 October 1968 — 15:50
PosCompetitorNOCTime (Hand)Time (Automatic)
1Lee EvansUSA43.843.86WR
2Larry JamesUSA43.943.97
3Ron FreemanUSA44.444.41
4Amadou GakouSEN45.045.01
5Martin JellinghausFRG45.345.33
6Tegegne BezabehETH45.445.42
7Andrzej BadeńskiPOL45.445.42
8Amos OmoloUGA47.647.61