Athletics at the 1988 Summer Olympics – Women's 4 × 400 metres relay

These are the official results of the Women's 4 × 400 m Relay event at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. There were a total number of sixteen nations competing.[1]

Soviet Union had the gold and bronze medalists from the 400 metres race and the silver medalist from the 400 hurdles. With the retirement of East Germans Marita Koch and Jarmila Kratochvílová, gold medalist Olha Bryzhina had the fastest time of any active athlete when she finished a close second behind Koch's world record three years earlier, the #3 runner in history at the time. Her 48.64 earlier in the week showed she hadn't lost a step. The Soviet's fourth runner had a bronze medal from the 1983 world championships.

From the gun, hurdler Tatyana Ledovskaya looked to have a slight lead over former high school athlete Denean Howard. Just as she had done in the hurdles, Ledovskaya tied up a bit on the final straight, Howard put the USA in first at the handoff with a 49.8 out of starting blocks. Going through the third turn, it was already clear this was a two team race. Diane Dixon got to the break line first and took over the lead position over Olga Nazarova. After making the pass, Nazarova opened up about a 10-meter lead on Dixon going into the handoff. Mariya Pinigina took the handoff and extended the lead another five metres by the 200 mark against Valerie Brisco-Hooks. But through the turn Brisco-Hooks started to make some headway. On the final straight, Pinigina began to tie up. The lead evaporated as Brisco-Hooks gained with every step. At the handoff, it was barely a meter, with FloJo taking the baton and strategically staying behind Bryzhina. Down the backstretch and through the final turn, Griffith-Joyner stayed the same distance behind Bryzhina as if there was a rope between the two. At the end of the turn, Griffith-Joyner looked to gain a little but Bryzhina sensed the attack and accelerated away, widening the gap slightly. In the final 50 metres, Griffith-Joyner made one more attack, but it wasn't with sprint speed. She was able to close down the gap to 2 metres by the finish but it was a clear win for the Soviets in their final appearance in an Olympic relay.

As it turned out, both Nazarova and Bryzhina tied Taťána Kocembová for the third fastest relay splits in history to that point in time with 47.8. Griffith-Joyner's 48.0 is next on that list. Since then, only Allyson Felix has run faster.

The American time 3:15.51 was more than four tenths of a second faster than the four-year-old world record. The winning Soviet time 3:15.17 improved the world record by three quarters of a second. Since that day, more than a quarter of a century, those two times remain the fastest in history. No team has come within a second and a half of the world record. Only four squads, all American Olympic or world championship teams, have since beaten the East German time from a distant third place in this race.


These were the standing World and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1988 Summer Olympics.

World Record 3:15.92  Gesine Walther
 Sabine Busch
 Dagmar Rübsam
  Marita Koch
Erfurt (GDR) June 3, 1984
Olympic Record 3:18.29   Lillie Leatherwood
  Denean Howard
  Valerie Brisco-Hooks
  Chandra Cheeseborough
Los Angeles (USA) August 11, 1984

The following World and Olympic record (in minutes) was set during this competition.

Date Event Athlete Time OR WR
October 1, 1988 Final   Tatyana Ledovskaya (URS)
  Olga Nazarova (URS)
  Mariya Pinigina (URS)
  Olha Bryzhina (URS)
3:15.17 OR WR


  • Held on Saturday 1988-10-01
    Soviet Union (URS) Tatyana Ledovskaya
Olga Nazarova
Mariya Pinigina
Olha Bryzhina
    United States (USA) Denean Howard
Diane Dixon
Valerie Brisco-Hooks
Florence Griffith-Joyner
    East Germany (GDR) Dagmar Neubauer
Kirsten Emmelmann
Sabine Busch
Petra Müller
4.   West Germany (FRG) Ute Thimm
Helga Arendt
Andrea Thomas
Gudrun Abt
5.   Jamaica (JAM) Sandie Richards
Andrea Thomas
Cathy Rattray-Williams
Sharon Powell
6.   Great Britain (GBR) Linda Keough
Jennifer Stoute
Angela Piggford
Sally Gunnell
7.   France (FRA) Fabienne Ficher
Nathalie Simon
Nadine Debois
Evelyn Elien
  Canada (CAN) Charmaine Crooks
Molly Killingbeck
Marita Payne-Wiggins
Jillian Richardson


  • Held on Friday 1988-09-30
1.   East Germany (GDR) Grit Breuer
Dagmar Neubauer
Kirsten Emmelmann
Petra Müller
2.   Canada (CAN) Charmaine Crooks
Esmie Lawrence
Marita Payne-Wiggins
Jillian Richardson
3.   West Germany (FRG) Helga Arendt
Michaela Schabinger
Gisela Kinzel
Gudrun Abt
4.   Great Britain (GBR) Linda Keough
Jennifer Stoute
Janet Smith
Sally Gunnell
5.   France (FRA) Fabienne Ficher
Nathalie Simon
Evelyn Elien
Nadine Debois
6.   Nigeria (NGR) Falilat Ogunkoya
Kehinde Vaughan
Airat Bakare
Mary Onyali
7.   India (IND) Mercy Kuttanmath Alapurackal
Vandana Rao
Vandana Shanbagh
Shin Kurisingal Abraham
  Australia (AUS) Debbie Flintoff-King
Maree Holland
Kerry Johnson
Jennifer Laurendet

1.   United States (USA) Lillie Leatherwood
Sherri Howard
Denean Howard
Diane Dixon
2.   Jamaica (JAM) Marcia Tate
Andrea Thomas
Cathy Rattray-Williams
Sharon Powell
3.   Soviet Union (URS) Lyudmyla Dzhyhalova
Olga Nazarova
Mariya Pinigina
Olha Bryzhina
4.   Brazil (BRA) Tânia Miranda
Suzete Montalvão
Soraya Telles
Maria Figueiredo
5.   South Korea (KOR) Yang Gyeong-hui
Choi Se-beom
Im Chun-ae
Kim Sun-ja
  Colombia (COL) Olga Escalante
Norfalia Carabali
Amparo Caicedo
Ximena Restrepo
  Uganda (UGA) Jane Ajilo
Grace Buzu
Farida Kyakutema
Ruth Kyalisiima
  Spain (ESP) Blanca Lacambra
Esther Lahoz
Cristina Pérez
Teresa Zuñiga

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games: Women's 4 × 400 metres Relay". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2017.

External linksEdit