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| Event type

4 x 400 metres Relay, Women

Date30 September – 1 October 1988
StatusOlympic
LocationOl-lim-pik Ju-gyeong-gi-jang, Seoul Sports Complex, Seoul
Participants61 from 13 countries

Anticipation was high for the final in this event, with the United States, the GDR, and the Soviet Union considered equal favorites. The Soviets were led by 400 champion Olha Bryzhina while the US was led by 100/200 champion Florence Griffith Joyner, who was a talented 400 runner. All three teams qualified easily for the final, which did not disappoint, some track experts considering this the greatest Olympic final ever run.

Denean Howard put the US ahead on the first leg but the Soviets Olga Nazarova ran 47.82 on the second leg to put the USSR eight metres in front. The GDR had fallen back and would not challenge for the gold medal. Valerie Brisco, 200/400 champion in 1984, ran the third leg for the US and brought the baton to Griffith Joyner with only a half-metre deficit. FloJo moved to Bryzhina’s shoulder on the backstretch and seemed ready to pounce, as the crowd looked for her to move ahead at any time. But it never happened. Griffith Joyner moved up slightly on the final turn but that was as close as she got, Bryzhina pulling away to win by three metres, and outrunning FloJo – 47.80 to 48.08. Both teams finished under the world record, with the Soviet Union posting 3:15.17, which still stood as the world record through 2020.

PosNrTeamNOCR1Final
1Soviet UnionURS3:27.14 (3 h2)3:15.17 (1)GoldWR
Tatsiana LedauskayaOlga NazarovaMariya PiniginaOlga BryzginaLyudmila DzhigalovaMaia Azarashvili (DNS)Aelita Gutnik (DNS)
2United StatesUSA3:25.86 (1 h2)3:15.51 (2)Silver
Denean HowardDiane DixonValerie BriscoFlorence Griffith JoynerSherri HowardLillie LeatherwoodJennifer Innis (DNS)Gwen Torrence (DNS)Terri Dendy (DNS)
3East GermanyGDR3:27.37 (1 h1)3:18.29 (3)Bronze
Dagmar NeubauerKirsten EmmelmannSabine BuschPetra MüllerGrit BreuerKatrin Krabbe (DNS)Heike Drechsler (DNS)
4West GermanyFRG3:27.75 (3 h1)3:22.49 (4)
Ute ThimmHelga ArendtAndrea ThomasGudrun AbtGisela KinzelMichaela SchabingerKarin Janke (DNS)
5JamaicaJAM3:26.83 (2 h2)3:23.13 (5)
Sandie RichardsAndrea ThomasCathy Rattray-WilliamsSharon PowellMarcia TateGrace Jackson (DNS)
6Great BritainGBR3:28.52 (4 h1)3:26.89 (6)
Linda KeoughJenny StouteAngela PiggfordSally GunnellJanet SmithPat Beckford (DNS)Loreen Hall (DNS)
7FranceFRA3:29.95 (5 h1)3:29.37 (7)
Fabienne FicherNathalie SimonNadine DeboisÉvelyne ÉlienHélène Huart (DNS)Marie-José Pérec (DNS)
AC r2/2CanadaCAN3:27.63 (2 h1)– (DNF)
Charmaine CrooksMolly KillingbeckMarita Payne WigginsJill RichardsonEsmie LawrenceRosey Edeh (DNS)
4 h2 r1/2BrazilBRA3:36.81 (4 h2)
Tânia MirandaSuzete MontalvãoSoraya TellesMagnólia FigueiredoConceição Geremias (DNS)
5 h2 r1/2Republic of KoreaKOR3:51.09 (5 h2)
Yang Gyeong-HuiChoi Se-BeomIm Chun-AeKim Sun-JaBang Sin-Hye (DNS)Park Suk-Ja (DNS)No Hye-Sun (DNS)Park Mi-Seon (DNS)
6 h1 r1/2NigeriaNGR3:30.21 (6 h1)
Falilat OgunkoyaKehinde VaughanAirat BakareMary OnyaliSadiat Sowunmi (DNS)Maria Usifo (DNS)
7 h1 r1/2IndiaIND3:33.46 (7 h1)
Mercy Kuttan-MathewsVandana RaoVandana ShanbaghShiny AbrahamAshwini Nachappa (DNS)P. T. Usha (DNS)
AC h2 r1/2ColombiaCOL– (DQ h2)
Olga EscalanteNorfalia CarabalíAmparo CaicedoXimena RestrepoElia Mera (DNS)
DNSAustraliaAUS– (DNS h1)
Debbie Flintoff-KingMaree HollandKerry JohnsonJenny LaurendetSally Hamilton-Fleming
DNSSpainESP– (DNS h2)
Blanca LacambraEsther LahozCristina PérezMaite ZúñigaSandy Myers
DNSUgandaUGA– (DNS h2)
Jane AjiloGrace BuzuFarida KyakutemaRuth KyalisimaOliver Acii

Round One (30 September 1988)

Top three in each heat and next two fastest advanced to the final.

Heat One (15:10)

PosNrTeamNOCTime (A)Split (Pos)
1East GermanyGDR3:27.37Q
257Grit Breuer52.5052.50 (4)
281Dagmar Neubauer50.271:42.77 (1)
262Kirsten Emmelmann52.202:34.97 (1)
279Petra Müller52.403:27.37 (1)
2CanadaCAN3:27.63Q
68Charmaine Crooks51.4251.42 (1)
73Esmie Lawrence53.771:45.19 (4)
75Marita Payne Wiggins51.202:36.39 (3)
77Jill Richardson51.243:27.63 (2)
3West GermanyFRG3:27.75Q
183Helga Arendt51.5451.54 (2)
198Michaela Schabinger52.921:44.46 (3)
187Gisela Kinzel51.592:36.05 (2)
182Gudrun Abt51.703:27.75 (3)
DNSAustraliaAUS
12Debbie Flintoff-King (DNS)– (–)
14Maree Holland (DNS)– (–)
15Kerry Johnson (DNS)– (–)
16Jenny Laurendet (DNS)– (–)
4Great BritainGBR3:28.52q
227Linda Keough51.5851.58 (3)
248Jenny Stoute52.791:44.37 (2)
247Janet Smith52.772:37.14 (5)
219Sally Gunnell51.383:28.52 (4)
5FranceFRA3:29.95q
171Fabienne Ficher52.8452.84 (6)
180Nathalie Simon52.941:45.78 (5)
167Évelyne Élien50.912:36.69 (4)
165Nadine Debois53.263:29.95 (5)
6NigeriaNGR3:30.21
427Falilat Ogunkoya52.7852.78 (5)
431Kehinde Vaughan53.661:46.44 (6)
426Airat Bakare54.812:41.25 (7)
428Mary Onyali48.963:30.21 (6)
7IndiaIND3:33.46
332Mercy Kuttan-Mathews53.7353.73 (7)
337Vandana Rao54.521:48.25 (7)
335Vandana Shanbagh51.302:39.55 (6)
333Shiny Abraham53.913:33.46 (7)

Heat Two (15:20)

PosNrTeamNOCTime (A)Split (Pos)
1United StatesUSA3:25.86Q
561Lillie Leatherwood51.1251.12 (1)
572Sherri Howard51.811:42.93 (1)
571Denean Howard50.592:33.52 (1)
564Diane Dixon52.343:25.86 (1)
2JamaicaJAM3:26.83Q
373Marcia Tate52.9852.98 (3)
374Andrea Thomas50.681:43.66 (2)
369Cathy Rattray-Williams51.482:35.14 (2)
368Sharon Powell51.693:26.83 (2)
3Soviet UnionURS3:27.14Q
518Lyudmila Dzhigalova51.3951.39 (2)
541Olga Nazarova52.511:43.90 (3)
543Mariya Pinigina51.442:35.34 (3)
516Olga Bryzgina51.803:27.14 (3)
4BrazilBRA3:36.81
40Tânia Miranda57.8657.86 (4)
41Suzete Montalvão53.991:51.85 (4)
42Soraya Telles53.802:45.65 (4)
38Magnólia Figueiredo51.163:36.81 (4)
5Republic of KoreaKOR3:51.09
403Yang Gyeong-Hui59.0659.06 (5)
388Choi Se-Beom57.151:56.21 (5)
397Im Chun-Ae57.212:53.42 (5)
394Kim Sun-Ja57.673:51.09 (5)
DQColombiaCOL
122Olga Escalante56.6456.64 (4)
121Norfalia Carabalí53.871:50.51 (4)
120Amparo Caicedo55.402:45.91 (5)
124Ximena Restrepo– (–)
DNSUgandaUGA
504Jane Ajilo (DNS)– (–)
505Grace Buzu (DNS)– (–)
506Farida Kyakutema (DNS)– (–)
507Ruth Kyalisima (DNS)– (–)
DNSSpainESP
135Blanca Lacambra (DNS)– (–)
136Esther Lahoz (DNS)– (–)
138Cristina Pérez (DNS)– (–)
141Maite Zúñiga (DNS)– (–)

Final (1 October 1988 — 14:35)

PosNrTeamNOCTime (A)Split (Pos)
1Soviet UnionURS3:15.17WR
Tatsiana Ledauskaya50.1250.12 (2)WR
Olga Nazarova47.821:37.94 (1)WR
Mariya Pinigina49.432:27.37 (1)WR
Olga Bryzgina47.803:15.17 (1)WR
2United StatesUSA3:15.51
571Denean Howard49.8249.82 (1)
564Diane Dixon49.171:38.99 (2)
555Valerie Brisco48.442:27.43 (2)
569Florence Griffith Joyner48.083:15.51 (2)
3East GermanyGDR3:18.29
281Dagmar Neubauer50.5850.58 (3)
262Kirsten Emmelmann49.911:40.49 (3)
259Sabine Busch48.812:29.30 (3)
279Petra Müller48.993:18.29 (3)
4West GermanyFRG3:22.49
200Ute Thimm50.8150.81 (4)
183Helga Arendt49.951:40.76 (4)
201Andrea Thomas51.502:32.26 (4)
182Gudrun Abt50.233:22.49 (4)
5JamaicaJAM3:23.13
370Sandie Richards51.5451.54 (6)
374Andrea Thomas49.941:41.48 (5)
369Cathy Rattray-Williams51.082:32.56 (5)
368Sharon Powell50.573:23.13 (5)
6Great BritainGBR3:26.89
227Linda Keough50.8650.86 (5)
248Jenny Stoute51.911:42.77 (6)
240Angela Piggford53.082:35.85 (6)
219Sally Gunnell51.043:26.89 (6)
7FranceFRA3:29.37
171Fabienne Ficher51.8251.82 (7)
180Nathalie Simon52.881:44.70 (7)
165Nadine Debois53.102:37.80 (7)
167Évelyne Élien51.573:29.37 (7)
DNFCanadaCAN
68Charmaine Crooks51.8351.83 (8)
71Molly Killingbeck– (–)
75Marita Payne Wiggins– (–)
77Jill Richardson– (–)