The men's 400 metres event was part of the track and field athletics programme at the 1924 Summer Olympics. This race was depicted in the film Chariots of Fire. The competition was held on Thursday, July 10, 1924, and on Friday, July 11, 1924.
|Men's 400 metres|
at the Games of the VIII Olympiad
|Venue||Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir|
|Dates||July 10 (heats and quarterfinals)|
July 11 (semifinals and final)
|Competitors||60 from 27 nations|
|Winning time||47.6 WR|
As for all other races the track was 500 metres in circumference.
Sixty runners from 27 nations competed. No nation had more than 4 athletes.
This was the seventh appearance of the event, which is one of 12 athletics events to have been held at every Summer Olympics. The defending gold medalist from 1920, Bevil Rudd of South Africa, did not return; the other two medalists, silver-winning Guy Butler of Great Britain and bronze-winning Nils Engdahl of Sweden, did. Eric Liddell of Great Britain was the 1924 Scottish and AAA champion.
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Haiti, Ireland, Mexico, Poland, and Switzerland appeared in the event for the first time. The United States made its seventh appearance in the event, the only nation to compete in it at every Olympic Games to that point.
Competition format Edit
The competition retained the basic four-round format from 1920. The first round had 17 heats, ranging from 1 to 5 athletes. The top two runners in each heat advanced to the quarterfinals. There were 6 quarterfinals, intended to have 5 or 6 runners in each but sometimes having 4 due to withdrawals; the top two athletes in each quarterfinal heat advanced to the semifinals. The semifinals featured 2 heats of 6 runners each. The top three runners in each semifinal heat advanced, making a six-man final.
These were the standing world and Olympic records (in seconds) prior to the 1924 Summer Olympics.
|World record||Ted Meredith (USA)||47.4(*)||Cambridge, United States||27 May 1916|
|Olympic record||Charles Reidpath (USA)||48.2||Stockholm, Sweden||13 July 1912|
(*) 440 yards (= 402.34 m)
In the quarterfinals, Josef Imbach set a new Olympic record with 48.0 seconds. In the semifinals Horatio Fitch improved the Olympic record with 47.8 seconds. In the final, Eric Liddell set a new world record with 47.6 seconds; this time was ratified as a 400 metres world record as Ted Meredith ran his record over 440 yards. World Athletics rescinded Liddell's time as a world record in 1928.
|Thursday, 10 July 1924||14:00
|Friday, 11 July 1924||14:45
Round 1 Edit
All heats were held on Thursday, July 10, 1924, and started at 2 p.m.
The best two finishers of every heat qualified for the quarter-finals.
Heat 1 Edit
Heat 2 Edit
|1||Ray Robertson||United States||50.2||Q|
Heat 3 Edit
Heat 4 Edit
|1||Eric Wilson||United States||49.6||Q|
Heat 5 Edit
Heat 6 Edit
Heat 7 Edit
|1||John Coard Taylor||United States||50.8||Q|
Heat 8 Edit
|1||Toby Betts||South Africa||49.8||Q|
Heat 9 Edit
Heat 10 Edit
|1||Clarence Oldfield||South Africa||49.6||Q|
|2||Edward Toms||Great Britain||49.9||Q|
Heat 11 Edit
|2||George Renwick||Great Britain||50.3||Q|
Heat 12 Edit
Heat 13 Edit
Heat 14 Edit
|1||Eric Liddell||Great Britain||50.2||Q|
Heat 15 Edit
|1||Horatio Fitch||United States||52.0||Q|
Heat 16 Edit
|1||Guy Butler||Great Britain||50.2||Q|
Heat 17 Edit
All quarter-finals were held on Thursday, July 10, 1924, and started at 4 p.m.
The best two finishers of every heat qualified for the semifinals.
Quarterfinal 1 Edit
|1||Horatio Fitch||United States||49.0||Q|
|4||Edward Toms||Great Britain||Unknown|
Quarterfinal 2 Edit
|1||Toby Betts||South Africa||49.0||Q|
Quarterfinal 3 Edit
|1||Guy Butler||Great Britain||49.8||Q|
|2||John Coard Taylor||United States||50.4||Q|
Quarterfinal 4 Edit
|2||Eric Liddell||Great Britain||49.3||Q|
|3||Ray Robertson||United States||49.5|
Quarterfinal 5 Edit
|1||Clarence Oldfield||South Africa||49.0||Q|
|6||George Renwick||Great Britain||Unknown|
Quarterfinal 6 Edit
|1||Josef Imbach||Switzerland||48.0||Q, OR|
|3||Eric Wilson||United States||48.8|
All semi-finals were held on Friday, July 11, 1924, and started at 2:45 p.m.
The best three finishers of each heat qualified for the final.
Semifinal 1 Edit
|1||Horatio Fitch||United States||47.8||Q, OR|
|2||Guy Butler||Great Britain||47.9||Q|
|5||Toby Betts||South Africa||48.4|
Semifinal 2 Edit
|1||Eric Liddell||Great Britain||48.2||Q|
|3||John Coard Taylor||United States||48.7||Q|
|5||Clarence Oldfield||South Africa||49.0|
The final was held on Friday, July 11, 1924, and started at 5:30 p.m. Taylor's ankle gave out just before the finish line in a career-ending injury; he crawled across the line. Imbach tripped over the lane-dividing ropes, fell, and was unable to finish.
|Eric Liddell||Great Britain||47.6||OR|
|Horatio Fitch||United States||48.4|
|Guy Butler||Great Britain||48.6|
|5||John Coard Taylor||United States||1:07.0|
- "Athletics at the 1924 Paris Summer Games: Men's 400 metres". sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- "400 metres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
- Official Report, pp. 108–09.
- Hymans, Richard (2008). "The History of the United States Olympic Trials – Track & Field" (PDF). USA Track & Field. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Associated Press (April 25, 1928). "U.S. Jinxed In 400 Meter Race At Olympic Meet". Ellensburg Daily Record. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "120 Olympic Stars Retire From Track". Chicago Tribune. January 11, 1925. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Jukola, Martti (1935). Huippu-urheilun historia (in Finnish). Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö.
- Butler, Mark (ed.). IAAF Athletics Statistics Book: Games of the XXX Olympiad London 2012. IAAF Communications Department. p. 69.