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1904 Olympic Games St. Louis, United States - Men's 400 m



Host City: St. Louis, United States Format: Final only.
Date Started: August 29, 1904
Date Finished: August 29, 1904
(Competitors: 12; Countries: 3)
Venue(s): Francis Field, Washington University, St. Louis
Overview by IAAF  Francis_Field_1904.jpg
The race was run as a straight final. Groman was the early leader, before being headed by Hillman as the bend began at 195m. Hillman surged away from Waller and Groman in the final stages as Poage fell back after being bumped by Waller and Fleming. Percy Molson was initially placed fifth, but his position was subsequently amended. He was a member of the Canadian family of beer fame, and died courageously in the first World War. The McGill University stadium in Montreal bears his name.
Summary by
Harry Hillman was probably the favorite although Canada's Percival Molson would also be closely watched, based on his victory over Hillman at the 1904 Canadian championships. There were no heats, as the thirteen runners started together, with twelve men on the line, and one, unknown soul forced to start behind the front line. Herman Groman went into the lead at 70 metres, and quickly opened a gap. The field immediately sorted itself out into two groups. At 200 metres Hillman, who had been running third, took the lead, while Joseph Fleming left the second pack and joined the main group. Into the last turn, George Poage tried to pass but was cut off by Fleming and Frank Waller. The final sprint involved Hillman, Waller, Groman, Fleming and Meyer Prinstein, as Poage fell back. Hillman powered ahead to win by about three yards over Waller, with Groman on Waller's heels and Fleming and Prinstein finishing almost together, another two yards back.
Though Percival Molson failed to place, he would achieve his fame later, but it would cost him his life. Molson, the great-grandson of John Molson, founder of Molson Breweries of Canada, attended McGill, from which he graduated in 1900, after serving as president of his senior class and gaining every athletic honor the university could offer. When World War I broke out, he joined the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and fought for them at the Battle of Mount Sorrel in 1916. He was wounded during the battle and returned home, receiving the Military Cross for his efforts. He insisted he be allowed to rejoin the company and on 5 July 1917, while fighting on the outskirts of Avion, France, he was hit by mortar fire while attempting to rescue a fallen friend. Both were killed. In his honor, the main athletic stadium at McGill University is known as the Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.
This track was 500 metres in circumference.

Harry Hillman set a new Olympic record with 49.2 seconds.

400 m Men Final 29 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 49.2 Harry Hillman United States USA 22 OR
2 49.9 Frank Waller United States USA 20
3 50.0 Herman Groman United States USA 21
4 Joseph Fleming United States USA 20
5 Meyer Prinstein United States USA 25
6 George Poage United States USA 23
AC Clyde Blair United States USA 22
AC Percival Molson Canada CAN 23
AC Paul Pilgrim United States USA 20
AC Johannes Runge Germany GER 26
AC George Underwood United States USA 19
AC Howard Valentine United States USA 22




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