Athletics at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's 400 metres hurdles

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Men's 400 metres hurdles
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
Venue White City Stadium
Dates July 20 (quarterfinals)
July 21 (semifinals)
July 22 (final)
Competitors 15 from 6 nations
Medalists
Gold medal    United States
Silver medal    United States
Bronze medal    Great Britain
«1904 1920»
Athletics at the
1908 Summer Olympics
Athletics pictogram.svg
Track events
100 m   men
200 m men
400 m men
800 m men
1500 m men
5 miles men
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men
3200 m steeplechase men
Medley relay men
3 mile team race men
Road events
Marathon men
3500 m walk men
10 mile walk men
Field events
Long jump men
Triple jump men
High jump men
Pole vault men
Standing long jump men
Standing high jump men
Shot put men
Discus throw men
Hammer throw men
Javelin throw men
Greek discus men
Freestyle javelin men

The men's 400 metres hurdles was the longer of two hurdling events at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. It was the third time the event had been featured at the Olympics. The Olympic record was beat three times in the course of the Games.

Ten sets of hurdles were set on the course. The hurdles were 3 feet (= 91.5 centimetre) tall and were placed 35 metres apart beginning 45 metres from the starting line.

The competition was held from Monday, July 20, 1908 to Wednesday, July 22, 1908.

15 runners from six nations competed.

Records[edit]

These were the standing world and Olympic records (in seconds) prior to the 1908 Summer Olympics.

World Record 55.8(*) United States Charles Bacon Philadelphia (USA) July 6, 1908
Olympic Record 57.6(**) United States Walter Tewksbury Paris (FRA) July 15, 1900

(*) unofficial

(**) 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.

In the first round Charles Bacon set a new Olympic record with 57.0 seconds. In the second round Harry Hillman set a new record with 56.4 seconds. In the final Charles Bacon set a new world record with 55.0 seconds. This record became the first official world record for the 400 metre hurdles.

Results[edit]

First round[edit]

First round, heat 1

There was no competition for Koops in the first heat.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Evert Koops Netherlands walkover

First round, heat 2

A tight race from start to finish, Coe won by about a metre.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Harry Coe United States 58.8 seconds
2 John Densham Great Britain (59.0 seconds)

First round, heat 3

Bacon won easily, breaking Godfrey Shaw's 440 yards world record.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Charles Bacon United States 57.0 seconds OR
2 Henry St Aubyn Murray Australasia (59.8 seconds)

First round, heat 4

There was no competition for Harmer in the fourth heat.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Frederick Harmer Great Britain walkover

First round, heat 5

There was no competition for Burton in the fifth heat.

Place Name Nation Time
1 G. Burton Great Britain walkover

First round, heat 6

Dubois pulled up lame three-quarters of the way through the race, leaving Hillman with the win.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Harry Hillman United States 59.2 seconds
Georges Dubois France DNF

First round, heat 7

There was no competition for Groenings in the seventh heat.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Oswald Groenings Great Britain walkover

First round, heat 8

There was no competition for Gould in the eighth heat.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Wyatt Gould Great Britain walkover

First round, heat 9

There was no competition for Kovacs in the ninth heat.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Nándor Kovács Hungary walkover

First round, heat 10

There was no competition for Tremeer in the tenth heat.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Jimmy Tremeer Great Britain walkover

First round, heat 11

The eleventh heat was cancelled as there were no starters.

First round, heat 12

In only the fourth actual race of the first round, and the third in which both runners finished, Burton won in the straight.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Leslie Burton Great Britain 1:00.4
2 Henri Meslot France (1:01.0)

Second round[edit]

Second round, heat 1

Koops fell; Hillman won easily, breaking Bacon's record that was set in the first round.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Harry Hillman United States 56.4 seconds OR
2 Harry Coe United States (57.0 seconds)
Evert Koops Netherlands DNF

Second round, heat 2

Bacon started off fast, and the other two runners dropped out at 200m.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Charles Bacon United States 58.8 seconds
Oswald Groenings Great Britain DNF
Nándor Kovács Hungary DNF

Second round, heat 3

Burton led after the hurdles, and won despite losing ground in the straight.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Leslie Burton Great Britain 59.8 seconds
2 Frederick Harmer Great Britain 1:00.3
3 Wyatt Gould Great Britain unknown

Second round, heat 4

Burton retired, allowing Tremeer to win with a jog.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Jimmy Tremeer Great Britain 1:00.6
G. Burton Great Britain DNF

Final[edit]

The final was held on Wednesday, July 22, 1908.

Charles Bacon and Harry Hillman in the final.


Halfway into the race, it was clear that the only question was which American would win. Bacon and Hillman were even all the way until the straight, with Bacon just barely pulling ahead to win by two yards, as both of the Americans came in under the world record set by Hillman in the second round.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Charles Bacon United States 55.0 seconds WR
2 Harry Hillman United States 55.3 seconds
3 Jimmy Tremeer Great Britain 57.0 seconds
4 Leslie Burton Great Britain 58.0 seconds

References[edit]

Official Report