All Athletics Menu

2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 400 m hurdles



Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top four in each heat advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 15, 2008 Format: Top three in each heat and next four fastest advanced to the semi-finals.
Date Finished: August 18, 2008  
(Competitors: 26; Countries: 19; Finalists: 8)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
Jackson, winner of the US Trials was co-favourite with the gifted Clement, who with 47.79 was the only man quicker than 48 seconds in 2008. With only 26 athletes across four heats, the first round was not too competitive, with Taylor (48.67) and Buckley (48.65) the fastest. Taylor won the first semi-final in 47.94, his quickest since his 2000 Olympic win, just edging Jackson (48.02), while Clement won the other semi in 48.27 from McFarlane (48.50). Taylor was off quickest in the final, and led by a metre at the first hurdle, and was almost 2m clear of Clement crossing the fifth hurdle, reached in 20.7. McFarlane was a clear third with Iakovakis and Jackson next. Clement closed to within half a metre at the eighth, but Taylor’s stride pattern was more certain than Clement’s and he came off the final barrier 2m clear. This was extended to more than 5m by the finish. Jackson went past McFarlane at the final hurdle and almost caught the easing Clement. Taylor’s time broke his lifetime best, set in Sydney in 2000, while McFarlane (36) lowered his world master’s best to 48.30.
Summary by      
In 1960 at Roma, the United States swept the medals in the 400 hurdles. No medal sweep had occurred in the event since that year, until Beijing. The favorite prior to Beijing was Kerron Clement, the 2007 World Champion. But the US team was formidable, as he was backed up by Angelo Taylor, the 2000 Olympic gold medalist, and Bershawn Jackson, the 2005 World Champion. But the event was dominated by Taylor, who added his second gold medal, using his great 400 flat speed – he was bronze medalist in that event at the 2007 World Championships. He had the fastest time in the first round (48.67) and the semi-finals (47.94). In the final he was in lane six with Jackson outside him in seven, and Clement in lane three. Taylor chased down Jackson and caught him on the backstretch. Clement was well back early but gathered strength on the final curve and was able to catch Jackson on the run-in to win the silver medal. Clement was closing very strongly when he had to cut his stride at the last hurdle, but by then Taylor had a comfortable lead. The defending Olympic Champion, Félix Sánchez, second at the 2007 Worlds, was injured and did not get out of the heats.


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:

World record United States Kevin Young (United States) 46.78 s Barcelona, Spain 6 August 1992
Olympic record  Kevin Young (USA) 46.78 s Barcelona, Spain 6 August 1992

No new world or Olympic records were set for this event.


Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) was able to enter up to three entrants providing they had met the A qualifying standard (49.20) in the qualifying period (1 January 2007 to 23 July 2008). NOCs were also permitted to enter one athlete providing he had met the B standard (49.50) in the same qualifying period.

The Men's 400 metres hurdles at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place on 16–18 August at the Beijing National Stadium.

The defending champion was "The Dictator" Félix Sánchez, but his reign ended short when he received the news of his grandmother, Lilian's death, just before his heat. He ran an uninspired race and was eliminated, though he returned four years later to again win the gold medal. The current world champion, defeating Sanchez, Kerron Clement looked like the likely favorite. Also in the field was 2000 Olympic champion Angelo Taylor. Taylor and Bershawn Jackson ran the fastest times in the semi-finals and got the outer center lanes Taylor in 6, Jackson in 7. The other semi was won by Clement in 4 and masters aged Danny McFarlane in 5. Nobody was in lane one in lane races at these Olympics.

Taylor and Clement were out fast, with Taylor making up the stagger on the typically slow starting Jackson by the third hurdle. McFarlane was the only one to stay with the American duo who were almost clearing hurdles in unison to the middle of the second turn. Starting at the seventh hurdle, Taylor started to have a slight edge, with both Taylor and Clement coming off the turn together, free of McFarlane and the rest of the field. McFarlane took the ninth hurdle awkwardly at the same time as "Batman" Jackson began his patented sprint to the finish. Clement also hit the ninth hurdle and struggled, taking two extra steps to carefully clear the tenth hurdle. Meanwhile Taylor kept his stride, powerfully clearing the final hurdle and sprinting to victory. With Clement slowing and Jackson sprinting, the gap between the two narrowed quickly but Clement was able to hold on for silver. McFarlane took the final hurdle smoothly and also mounted a charge, but was not able to catch Jackson's furious dive at Clement leaving the results as an American sweep. Three days later, America would duplicate the sweep in the 400 metres.

In repeating as Olympic champion non-consecutively, Taylor joined a rare club including Paavo Nurmi, Volodymyr Holubnychy, Heike Drechsler, Nina Romashkova and Edwin Moses (caused by the boycott). Ulrike Meyfarth did it remarkably 12 years apart. Sánchez, along with Meseret Defar and Ezekiel Kemboi would complete the same feat four years later.


Men's 400m Hurdles - FINAL


After three days of competition at the Olympic stadium in Beijing, the United States of America had yet to secure their first Athletics gold medal of the Games.  While the women’s Discus Throw gold came as a big surprise, they were confident, as the fourth evening session unfolded, the biggest prize of all would not elude them in the men’s 400m Hurdles.

More, they were aiming for a sweep of the medals. With Bershawn Jackson the 2005 World champion, Kerron Clement the 2007 World title holder and Angelo Taylor the 2000 Olympic champion in the start list for the final, how could one blame them for their optimism.

Still the outcome came as a surprise, as it was Taylor, the less fancied of the trio, who led from start to finish to clock a new personal best 47.25 and win gold 8 years after winning the Sydney Olympic Games from lane one.

"It means the world to me (to win another gold medal). I think I could have run faster though. I went out like I wanted to. It's a personal best. I haven't run fast since 2001. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me."

“I'm a really blessed individual. To go through what I went through and be back on top means the world to me."

“It's such a great feeling. I was the Olympic champion in 2000. Coming back in 2004 I wanted to defend my title but I didn't make the final. I was a little disappointed then but at the same time I made the team injured. I had stress fractures in both shins.”

Taylor becomes the third American to win two Olympic titles at the event after Glenn Davis’ back to back titles in 1956 and 1960 and Edwin Moses’ gold medals in 1976 and 1984.

Third at the US Olympic Trials, Taylor had made it clear from the start. He wanted gold, nothing less. Running in lane 6, he blasted out of the blocks and soon made the stagger up on American champion Jackson who was running on the lane to his right.

While Jackson seemed to be out of the picture, Clement started making his move coming into the final bend and by the eighth hurdle he was level with Taylor. Running stride for stride, there was still very little between Clement and Taylor at the penultimate obstacle. But as in many other occasions, Clement stuttered leading up to the final barrier, a mistake which cost him the gold.

Alone up front Taylor took his time to celebrate and savour the sweet taste of victory.

Meanwhile Jackson moved closer to finish in third in 48.06, eighth hundredths of a second behind Clement to complete the pre-planned one-two-three, the first sweep of the medals at the athletics events here in Beijing.

"We are the best three hurdlers in the world,” said an elated Clement. “We proved that today. I'm really happy with my silver medal. All season, we've been very consistent. I was focusing on myself and the hurdles and going 1-2-3.”

In contrast Jackson sounded a little less satisfied: "I was fourth at the last hurdle. Came up third and I thought I had second. I was pushing it. I'm happy with third. I wanted it so bad but I kept making errors. I kept crashing hurdles. I think it was three or four. All three of us know what it takes to win."

Olympic silver medallist Danny McFarlane of Jamaica had to be content with fourth despite a season’s best 48.30.

Amazingly Taylor’s was the sixteenth Olympic 400m Hurdles title for the Americans who also recorded their fourth ever sweep of the medals at the event.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

Taylor electrifies Beijing and can give up the day job now

If there was ever an emotional favourite to win, it was Angelo Taylor in the men’s 400 metres Hurdles. He wins Olympic gold in Sydney, from lane one, no less, the tighter bends on the inside being even more of a disadvantage to a hurdler.
He was bemoaning that lane draw eight years ago, by the way, when he got a phone call from his pal, high hurdler, Terrence Trammell, who told him, “It’s a sign you’re going to win, lane one, number one”. That’s the sort of pal to have.
But then Taylor goes to Athens, to defend his title four years later, and discovers, after crashing out painfully in the semi-finals, that he had qualified at the US Trials while already having stress fractures in both legs.
And he was so out of the athletics loop two years later, that he had to work as an electrician, to make ends meet.
“I was getting up at six in the morning, doing an eight hour day, then going to the track, to do my workouts,” he related at the post-race press conference, with the laconic air of a man who has learned how to internalise problems. “I did that for a year. That was enough. I prefer this”.
‘This’ was of course his second Olympic gold, and a personal best, 47.25sec at the age of 29. Taylor had only finished third in the US Trials to Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson. But the speed he honed in finishing third in the 2007 World Championships 400 metres flat served him well when he flew out of the blocks, and killed off his compatriots in the opening 200 metres.
“That run (in Osaka) was a tremendous confidence booster. Getting a personal best (44.32sec) on the flat, I knew I could run fast over the hurdles.”

I automatically knew that was the event for me
Taylor was born in Albany, and grew up in Decatur, both in Georgia. His father, Angelo Taylor Snr played football at Albany State, and both parents had been runners. “I played football and basketball, and tried all the track events,” says Junior, but when I tried the hurdles, I automatically knew that was the event for me.”
There was a nice, confident touch when one questioner asked all three athletes for their response to the clean-sweep, after a slow start for the US in the stadium. Taylor looked round briefly, and said, “I’ll go first.”
“The USA hasn’t been doing so well, so everyone on the team was rooting for us.”

And on the race itself, and any comparisons to Sydney, he said, “I just really wanted to take it out hard, and press the field. There’s no comparison (with Sydney). To come back after eight years, and stand on that podium again, it’s the best thing.
Taylor has had to come through other problems to get here, like a little skirmish with the US judicial system two years ago. He was fined and put on probation. He didn’t want to address it at the press conference, but his mother, Subrena Glenn-Everett was there, and said, “It was a low-point, seeing my son’s life exploited negatively all across the world. I vowed then that we’d get through this.”
There couldn’t have been a better way of doing it.
Pat Butcher for the IAAF

400 m hurdles Men     Final 18 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 47.25     Angelo Taylor United States USA 29 Dec 78  
2 47.98     Kerron Clement United States USA 31 Oct 85  
3 48.06     Bershawn Jackson United States USA 8 May 83  
4 48.30     Danny McFarlane Jamaica JAM 14 Jun 72  
5 48.42     LJ van Zyl South Africa RSA 20 Jul 85  
6 48.52     Marek Plawgo Poland POL 25 Feb 81  
7 48.60     Markino Buckley Jamaica JAM 16 Apr 86  
8 49.96     Periklís Iakovákis Greece GRE 24 Mar 79  

Men's 400m Hurdles - Semi-finals


The USA look set to claim their fourth sweep of the medals in the history of the men’s 400m Hurdles at the Olympic Games as Angelo Taylor, Bershawn Jackson and Kerron Clement were the fastest qualifiers for Monday’s final. And they didn’t even need to work that hard to make it through!

American intermediate hurdlers have claimed the top three places when the event was introduced back in 1920 and then again in 1956 and 1960 led by Glenn Davis’ back to back titles.

After failing to make it to the podium four years ago in Athens, Americans have now three realistic chances of setting the record straight.

First up were US champion Jackson and 2000 Olympic champion Taylor both drawn in the first semi final. And this time, it was Taylor who had been beaten into third at the national championships who looked the better of the pair. Taylor ran a perfectly balanced race coming off the final curve ahead of the field. Meanwhile, Jackson had dropped back down the field as, like in the first round, he ran a very conservative backstretch.

However unconventional Jackson’s tactics may be, they proved enough to easily make it through the 2005 World champion closing in on Taylor in the final stages of the race. Both shut it down before the finish with Taylor, in 47.94 just 8 hundredths ahead of his younger compatriot.

Both improved on their season’s best with Taylor, the only one to dip under 48 seconds in the semi finals, cutting off a massive 48 hundredths of a second off his best time of the year.

In third LJ van Zyl of South Africa, who is also third fastest in the world this year, was next across the finish in 48.57. It will be the first global senior final for the former World Junior champion and two-time African champion.

The US will be the only nation with three representatives in the final as World bronze medallist Marek Plawgo took the fourth and last qualifying spot in heat one. Running in 48.75, he left behind Jamaican Isa Phillips, Alexander Derevyagin of Russia and Pieter de Villiers of South Africa.

Reigning World champion Kerron Clement made just as good an impression winning heat two in 48.27 after running a pretty conservative 250 metres, stuttering ahead of the final barrier and fluidly closing in the run in.

Clement was trailing behind European champion Periklis Iakovakis coming off the final bend but the Greek was unable to counter Clement’s superior speed.

After the disappointment of not making it to the Olympic final in front of his home crowd four years ago, Periklis managed to hold on to fourth, the last qualifying position in a season’s best 48.69 as the Jamaican pair of Danny McFarlane and Markino Buckley sped past in the final stages of the race.

The defending Olympic silver medallist McFarlane easily set a new season’s best 48.33 with Buckley who had been the fastest in yesterday’s heats coming close to the personal best he set in the opening round in 48.69.

The third South African in the event, Alwyn Myburgh faded to fifth in 49.16 thus leaving van Zyl as the only African finalist.

Taylor could become the third American to win two Olympic titles after Davis and the legendary Edwin Moses, a winner in 1976 and 1984.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
400 m hurdles Men     Semifinal 1 16 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 47.94   Q Angelo Taylor United States USA 29 Dec 78  
2 48.02   Q Bershawn Jackson United States USA 8 May 83  
3 48.57   Q LJ van Zyl South Africa RSA 20 Jul 85  
4 48.75   Q Marek Plawgo Poland POL 25 Feb 81  
5 48.85     Isa Phillips Jamaica JAM 22 Apr 84  
6 49.23     Aleksandr Derevyagin Russia RUS 24 Mar 79  
7 49.44     Pieter de Villiers South Africa RSA 13 Jul 82  
8 49.85     Javier Culson Puerto Rico PUR 25 Jul 84  
400 m hurdles Men     Semifinal 2 16 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 48.27   Q Kerron Clement United States USA 31 Oct 85  
2 48.33   Q Danny McFarlane Jamaica JAM 14 Jun 72  
3 48.50   Q Markino Buckley Jamaica JAM 16 Apr 86  
4 48.69   Q Periklís Iakovákis Greece GRE 24 Mar 79  
5 49.16     Alwyn Myburgh South Africa RSA 13 Oct 80  
6 49.64     Jonathan Williams Belize BIZ 29 Aug 83  
7 50.16     Mahau Suguimati Brazil BRA 13 Nov 84  
8 50.48     Bayano Kamani Panama PAN 17 Apr 80  

Men's 400m Hurdles First round


The men’s 400m Hurdles is expected to be a three-tie affair between representatives of the USA, Jamaica and South Africa and after tonight’s first round heats expectations were confirmed as all three representatives of the event’s most powerful nations easily advanced to tomorrow’s semi finals.

The US is to be given a slight advantage on paper after Bershawn Jackson, Angelo Taylor and Kerron Clement reigned supreme in their respective heats. Yet the fastest time was clocked by 22-year-old Markino Buckley of Jamaica who took a convincing 48.65 win in heat 3, an improvement of a massive 43 hundredths of a second on his best.

The two-time African champion LJ van Zyl, who despite being a pre-event favourite did not advance past his first round heat at last year’s World Championships in Osaka, made sure he wasn’t going to make the same mistake. He blasted out of the blocks and maintained his lead until Buckley, who was ‘only’ third at the Jamaican championships, made an impressive move coming off the curve. Van Zyl did not need to respond, he was content with second in 48.86.

Osaka bronze medallist Marek Plawgo of Poland ran a more conservative race, his third place 49.17 just enough for a spot in the semis.

With only 26 athletes entered, round one was just a formality for all the pre-event favourites but for Angelo Taylor it was time to prove he is capable of regaining the Olympic title he won eight years ago at the Sydney Games.

The 29-year-old Osaka 400m bronze medallist ran a very powerful race imposing his tall figure over the rest of the field. Coming off the final barrier, Taylor had done more than enough and all that was left was for him to control the fast finishing inside lanes. He finished in 48.67 and with the certainty that the best is yet to come.

With Taylor slowing down to nearly a halt, defending Olympic silver medallist Danny McFarlane of Jamaica closed the gap, his 48.86 just holding off South Africa’s Alwyn Myburgh’s 48.92.

American champion Bershawn Jackson was also a convincing winner in heat one although he adopted a different race tactic. The 2005 World champion got off to a phenomenal start overshadowing the rest of the field only to slow down after 150m. His second half of the race was visibly where he decided to save energy and that left room for Jonathan Williams of Belize and Peter de Villiers of South Africa to move forward.

But Jackson had planned it well as he picked up his speed again approaching the final barrier to win in 49.20 just 2 hundredths ahead of de Villiers. Brazil’s Mahau Suguimati squeezed past Williams to take the final automatic qualifier in 49.45 but Williams would eventually advance as the last fastest loser.

The fourth and final heat was a demonstration of incredible talent by reigning World champion Kerron Clement. The 22-year-old Los Angeles based Klement only appeared in the picture with 80 metres to go and made his 49.42 win look so easy that one can only expect greater things tomorrow.

Former World Championships medallist Dai Tamesue of Japan worked hard in the early stages of the race but his braveness didn’t pay off as not only Clement but also European champion Periklis Iakovakis of Greece and CAC champion Isa Phillips of Jamaica moved past him and grabbed the other qualifying places.

Defending Olympic champion Felix Sanchez who has been plagued with injuries since his silver medal winning performance last year in Osaka defied all the odds to make it to the start. Having not competed since last year’s World Athletics Final Sanchez made a point of fighting for his title and despite a good showing over the first three barriers he could not keep up with the class of the field.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

400 m hurdles Men     Heat 1 15 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 49.20   Q Bershawn Jackson United States USA 8 May 83  
2 49.24   Q Pieter de Villiers South Africa RSA 13 Jul 82  
3 49.45   Q Mahau Suguimati Brazil BRA 13 Nov 84  
4 49.61   Q Jonathan Williams Belize BIZ 29 Aug 83  
5 49.63     Kenji Narisako Japan JPN 25 Jul 84  
6 49.89     Edivaldo Monteiro Portugal POR 28 Apr 76  
7 55.14     Harouna Garba Niger NIG    
400 m hurdles Men     Heat 2 15 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 48.67   Q Angelo Taylor United States USA 29 Dec 78  
2 48.86   Q Danny McFarlane Jamaica JAM 14 Jun 72  
3 48.92   Q Alwyn Myburgh South Africa RSA 13 Oct 80  
4 49.05   Q Bayano Kamani Panama PAN 17 Apr 80  
5 49.19   Q Aleksandr Derevyagin Russia RUS 24 Mar 79  
6 50.57     Ibrahima Maïga Mali MLI 14 Mar 79  
400 m hurdles Men     Heat 3 15 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 48.65   Q Markino Buckley Jamaica JAM 16 Apr 86  
2 48.86   Q LJ van Zyl South Africa RSA 20 Jul 85  
3 49.17   Q Marek Plawgo Poland POL 25 Feb 81  
4 49.60   Q Javier Culson Puerto Rico PUR 25 Jul 84  
5 49.73     Meng Yan China CHN 30 Sep 80  
6 51.47     Aleksey Pogorelov Kyrgyzstan KGZ 26 Mar 83  
400 m hurdles Men     Heat 4 15 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 49.42   Q Kerron Clement United States USA 31 Oct 85  
2 49.50   Q Periklís Iakovákis Greece GRE 24 Mar 79  
3 49.55   Q Isa Phillips Jamaica JAM 22 Apr 84  
4 49.82     Dai Tamesue Japan JPN 3 May 78  
5 51.10     Félix Sánchez Dominican Republic DOM 30 Aug 77  
6 51.47     Mowen Boino Papua New Guinea PNG 16 Dec 79  
  DNF     Yevgeniy Meleshenko Kazakhstan KAZ 19 Jan 81  




Real time web analytics, Heat map tracking

Olympic Games



All Events


Athletics in Olympic Games




You are here: Home Athletics Olympic Games (Athletics) 2008 Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 400 m hurdles