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



Host City: St. Louis, United States Format: Final only.
Date Started: August 31, 1904
Date Finished: August 31, 1904
(Competitors: 4; Countries: 1)
Venue(s): Francis Field, Washington University, St. Louis
Overview by IAAF Francis_Field_1904.jpg 
The race was held over hurdles set at 76cm rather than the standard 91.4cm. Hillman built up a comfortable lead from the start, and then lost almost all of his advantage when hitting the eighth hurdle hard. Waller almost caught him at the next hurdle, and Hillman had to fight him off after knocking over the last hurdle, winning by less than two yards. Poage became the first black athlete to win an Olympic medal in an athletics event, though in 1900 a silver medal was won by a black Frenchman in the tug-of-war.
Summary by
Harry Hillman led from start to finish and had the race well in hand until the eighth hurdle. He hit that hurdle very hard, almost falling, and Frank Waller caught him at the ninth hurdle. Somehow, Hillman regained his momentum and took the run-in by two yards. In third place, George Poage won what is usually described as the first Olympic medal ever won by a black man, but on the same afternoon Joseph Stadler was winning a silver medal in the standing high jump, and in 1900, a black man had competed in the tug-of-war for France, winning a silver medal.
Hillman's time could not qualify as a world record for two reasons: 1) he knocked over a hurdle, which in those days invalidated hurdle marks for record purposes, and 2) the hurdles used were only 2'6" high, as opposed to the event standard of three feet.
This track was 500 metres in circumference.

Harry Hillman ran 53.0 but he knocked over a hurdle and the hurdles were only 30 inches (76 cm) high.

400 m Hurdles Men Final 31 August
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 53.0 Harry Hillman United States USA 22
2 53.2 Frank Waller United States USA 20
3 30 yds bh2 George Poage United States USA 23
4 George Varnell United States USA 21




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