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1952 Olympic Games Helsinki, Finland - Men's 4 x 400 m



Host City: Helsinki, Finland Format: Top two in each heat advanced to the final.
Date Started: July 26, 1952  
Date Finished: July 27, 1952  
(Competitors: 72; Countries: 18; Finalists: 24/6)  
    Venue(s): Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
Overview by IAAF    1952_olympic_stadium.jpg
In an Olympic Games full of exciting competition this was probably the greatest race of all. The United States, with huge (1.88/95Kg) Ollie Matson, who was later a great running back in the NFL, took a slim lead on the first leg over ’48 champion Wint. Cole then extended that lead with a splendid 45.5 split ahead of the 47.0 of Laing, compared to flat bests of 46.7 and 47.5 for the two men. As McKenley took over the baton he was more than 12m behind, and he began to make up the deficit in the first half. At halfway he was still some 8m back, and it seemed that he would “blow up” in his attempt to catch the 400m Hurdles winner Charlie Moore. This was McKenley’s last opportunity to win a gold medal, and he seized the moment by not only closing on Moore, but passing him in the last few strides after a lap of 44.6 seconds. No-one had ever run a relay leg under 45 seconds before (Rhoden had run 45.4 in 1950), so McKenley’s performance was superlative. Rhoden now had the task of holding off Whitfield. On paper this was not difficult as he was the Olympic 400m Champion in a race which had seen Whitfield, the 800m winner, finish last. However, Whitfield, with three Olympic gold medals under his belt, was clearly a danger. The whole way round the last lap Rhoden led with Whitfield on his shoulder, and the Jamaican held on to win by a metre, with both teams more than four seconds under the world record – the biggest improvement in the history of the event. Behind the two top teams Germany also broke the old record, with Haas running a fine anchor leg of 45.9.
Summary by      
As in 1952, the final was considered a two-team race between Jamaica and the United States. Ollie Matson, later an NFL running back, gave the US a slim lead on the opening leg over Jamaica’s 1948 400 metre champion, Arthur Wint. On the second leg, Gene Cole extended the US lead with a 45.5 leg. When Herb McKenley received the baton for his third leg, he was over 10 metres in arrears. Racing against 400 hurdles gold medalist Charlie Moore, McKenley ran the fastest 400 leg yet recorded, 44.6 – the first time any runner had bettered 45 seconds for 400 metres. As they neared the bell lap, McKenley gave Jamaica a narrow lead. The anchor was contested between Jamaica’s George Rhoden and the USA’s Mal Whitfield, who had won the 400 and 800 metre gold medals, respectively. Whitfield ran on Rhoden’s shoulder for the entire last lap, but could never quit pull even or pass him. Jamaica won the gold medal in the greatest 4x400 relay to that time, breaking the world record, with the United States also bettering the old mark, by over four seconds.
4 x 400 m Men     Final 27 July        
Rank Mark     Team Country NOC   Records Notes
1 3.04.04     Arthur Wint 46.8, Leslie Laing 47.0, Herb McKenley 44.6, George Rhoden 45.5 Jamaica JAM   WR 3.03.9 h
2 3.04.21     Ollie Matson 46.7, Gene Cole 45.5, Charlie Moore 46.3, Mal Whitfield45.5 United States USA     3.04.0 h
3 3.06.78     Hans Geister 47.0, Günther Steines 47.3, Heinz Ulzheimer 46.5, Karl- Friedrich Haas 45.8 Germany GER     3.06.6 h
4 3.09.37     Douglas Clement 49.0, John Hutchins 47.0, John Carroll 46.0, James Lavery 47.3 Canada CAN     3.09.3 h
5 3.10.23     Leslie Lewis 47.9, Alan Dick 47.4, Terence Higgins 47.4, Nicholas Stacey 47.3 Great Britain GBR     3.10.0 h
6 3.10.33     Jean-Pierre Goudeau 48.5, Robert Bart 47.5, Jacques Degats 47.3, Jean-Paul Martin du Gard 46.8 France FRA     3.10.1 h
4 x 400 m Men     Round One Heat One 26 July        
Rank Mark     Team Country NOC   Records Notes
1 3.12.13   Q Arthur Wint, Leslie Laing, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden Jamaica JAM     3.12.1 h
2 3.12.72   Q Jean-Pierre Goudeau, Robert Bart, Jacques Degats, Jean-Paul Martin du Gard France FRA     3.12.6 h
3 3.13.55     Gösta Brännström, Tage Ekfeldt, Rune Larsson, Lars-Erik Wolfbrandt Sweden SWE     3.13.4 h
4 3.16.05     Albert Lowagie, Antoine Uyterhoeven, Roger Moens, Fernand Linssen Belgium BEL     3.15.8 h
5 3.16.38     Roby Schaeffer, Jean Hamilius, Fred Hammer, Gérard Rasquin Luxembourg LUX     3.16.2 h
6 3.16.67     Pauli Tavisalo, Ossi Mildh, Ragnar Graeffe, Rolf Back Finland FIN     3.16.4 h
7 3.20.55     Junkichi Matoba, Eitaro Okano, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Yoshitaka Muroya Japan JPN     3.20.3 h
4 x 400 m Men     Round One Heat Two 26 July        
Rank Mark     Team Country NOC   Records Notes
1 3.11.67   Q Ollie Matson, Gene Cole, Charlie Moore, Mal Whitfield United States USA     3.11.5 h
2 3.12.67   Q Leslie Lewis, Alan Dick, Terence Higgins, Nicholas Stacey Great Britain GBR     3.12.5 h
3 3.13.96     Ferenc Bánhalmi, Lajos Szentgáli, Egon Solymossy, Zoltán Adamik Hungary HUN     3.13.8 h
4 3.15.23     Baldassare Porto, Gianni Rocca, Luigi Grossi, Armando Filiput Italy ITA     3.15.2 h
5 3.15.36     Hans Ernst Schneider, Sepp Steger, Paul Stalder, Ernst von Gunten Switzerland SUI     3.15.4 h
6 3.23.2     Abdul Rehman, Muhammad Shafi, Mirza Khan, Aurang Zeb Pakistan PAK      
4 x 400 m Men     Round One Heat Three 26 July        
Rank Mark     Team Country NOC   Records Notes
1 3.10.57   Q Hans Geister, Günther Steines, Heinz Ulzheimer, Karl- Friedrich Haas Germany GER     3.10.5 h
2 3.11.49   Q Douglas Clement, John Hutchins, John Carroll, James Lavery Canada CAN     3.11.2 h
3 3.12.65     Ardalion Ignatyev, Gennady Slepnyov, Edmunds Pīlāgs, Yury Lituyev Soviet Union URS     3.12.5 h
4 3.15.09     Louis van Biljon, Ron Wilki, John Anderton, Bill Chivelle South Africa RSA     3.14.8 h
5 3.16.00     Ray Weinberg, Morris Curotta, Ken Doubleday, Edwin Carr, Jr. Australia AUS     3.15.8 h




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