Athletics at the 1904 Summer Olympics – Men's 400 metres

The men's 400 metres was a track and field athletics event held as part of the Athletics at the 1904 Summer Olympics programme. It was the third time the event was held. 12 athletes from 3 nations participated. The competition was held on August 29, 1904. The event was won by Harry Hillman of the United States, the third time in a row that a different American had won the event. The Americans swept the medals, the first time that feat had been achieved in the men's 400 metres.

Men's 400 metres
at the Games of the III Olympiad
Finish of 400 m running event at the 1904 Summer Olympics.jpg
Finish of 400 metres
VenueFrancis Field
DatesAugust 29
Competitors12 from 3 nations
Winning time49.2 OR
1st place, gold medalist(s) Harry Hillman  United States
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Frank Waller  United States
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Herman Groman  United States
← 1900
1908 →


This was the third time the event was held. None of the runners from 1900 returned. Harry Hillman of the United States and Percival Molson of Canada were the favorites; Molson had beaten Hillman at the 1904 Canadian championships.[1]

Molson was Canada's first-ever runner in the Olympic men's 400 metres. The United States made its third appearance in the event, the only nation to compete in it at the first three Olympic Games.

Competition formatEdit

The competition consisted of a single race with all runners starting together.


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in seconds) prior to the 1904 Summer Olympics.

World record   Maxie Long (USA) 47.8(*) New York City, United States 29 September 1900
Olympic record   Maxie Long (USA) 49.4(**) Paris, France 15 July 1900

(*) 440 yards (= 402.34 m)

(**) This track was 500 metres in circumference.

Harry Hillman set a new Olympic record with 49.2 seconds.


Groman took the lead at 70 metres; Hillman, Waller, Poage, and Prinstein formed a group behind him while the other six runners formed a second group further back. Hillman passed Groman at the halfway mark, with Fleming moving up into the first group. Poage attempted to take the lead in the last turn, but Fleming and Waller blocked him and he fell back to the train group before the final sprint. Hillman finished "about three yards" ahead of Waller, with Groman "on Waller's heels" and Fleming and Prinstein "almost together, another two yards back."[1]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
  Harry Hillman   United States 49.2 OR
  Frank Waller   United States 49.9
  Herman Groman   United States 50.0
4 Joseph Fleming   United States Unknown
5 Myer Prinstein   United States Unknown
6 George Poage   United States Unknown
7–12 Clyde Blair   United States Unknown
Percival Molson   Canada Unknown
Paul Pilgrim   United States Unknown
Johannes Runge   Germany Unknown
George Underwood   United States Unknown
Howard Valentine   United States Unknown


  1. ^ a b "400 metres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 29 July 2020.