The 400 meter hurdles has featured in all but two Olympic Games as a men's event, and in all Olympics since 1984 as a women's event. Throughout this time, athletes from the United States have secured 18 out of 26 gold medals in the men's event, while American, Jamaican, and Russian athletes have taken the gold twice each in the women's event. Four men have won the gold medal twice, and the most recent to do so was Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic in 2004 and 2012.
The 2020 Games proved significant for the event, with both winners also setting new Olympic and World Records in their respective finals. Kevin Young's Olympic record of 46.78 seconds had stood since 1992, and the women's record had been set in 2008; however, both McLaughlin and Warholm had set new world records in the six weeks leading up to the Tokyo Games. In the final of the men's event, all three medallists beat the previous Olympic record, and Warholm beat his own World Record by 0.76 seconds. A similar story occurred the following day in the women's final, where all three medallists beat the Olympic record, and McLaughlin topped her own World Record by 0.44 seconds. In both races, the silver times were also faster than the previous World Record.
Gold medal winning times in the Men's and Women's 400m hurdles at the Summer Olympics from 1900 to 2020
This data was collected using the official Olympic.org site, as well as a spreadsheet from the Guardian that includes data from 1896-2008 (available here), 2012 and 2016 data was compared with that from Encyclopaedia Britannica, and several news outlets were used to update the table when medals were reassigned (i.e. for doping offenses).
The winning athletes (male listed first) and their represented countries are as follows:
1900 - Walter Tewksbury (U.S.)
1904 - Harry Hillman (U.S.)
1908 - Charles Bacon (U.S.)
*1912 - Not included in Olympic Games
1920 - Frank Loomis (U.S.)
1924 - Morgan Taylor (U.S.)
1928 - David George Burghley (Great Britain)
1932 - Robert Morton Newburgh Tisdall (Ireland)
1936 - Glenn Hardin (U.S.)
1948 - Roy Braxton Cochran (U.S.)
1952 - Charles Hewes Moore Jr. (U.S.)
1956 - Glenn Davis (U.S.)
1960 - Glenn Davis (U.S.)
1964 - Warren (Rex) Jay Cawley (U.S.)
1968 - David Hemrey (Great Britain)
1972 - John Aki-Bua (Uganda)
1976 - Edwin Moses (U.S.)
1980 - Volker Beck (East Germany)
1984 - Edwin Moses (U.S.) & Nawal El Moutawakel (Morocco)
1988 - Andre Phillips (U.S.) & Debbie Flintoff King (Jamaica)
1992 - Kevin Young (U.S.) & Sally Gunnell (Great Britain)
1996 - Derrick Adkins (U.S.) & Deon Marie Hemmings (Jamaica)
2000 - Angelo Taylor (U.S.) & Irina Privalova (Russia)
2004 - Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) & Fani Khalkia (Greece)
2008 - Angelo Taylor (U.S.) & Melanie Walker (Jamaica)
2012 - Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) & Natalya Antyukh (Russia)
2016 - Kerron Clement (U.S.) & Dalilah Muhammad (U.S.)
2020 - Karsten Warholm (Norway) & Sydney McLaughlin (U.S.)
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olympic.org, & The Guardian. (December 31, 2019). Gold medal winning times in the Men's and Women's 400m hurdles at the Summer Olympics from 1900 to 2020 (in seconds) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100893/olympics-400m-hurdles-gold-medal-times-since-1900/
olympic.org, und The Guardian. "Gold medal winning times in the Men's and Women's 400m hurdles at the Summer Olympics from 1900 to 2020 (in seconds)." Chart. December 31, 2019. Statista. Accessed September 27, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100893/olympics-400m-hurdles-gold-medal-times-since-1900/
olympic.org, The Guardian. (2019). Gold medal winning times in the Men's and Women's 400m hurdles at the Summer Olympics from 1900 to 2020 (in seconds). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: September 27, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100893/olympics-400m-hurdles-gold-medal-times-since-1900/
olympic.org, and The Guardian. "Gold Medal Winning times in The Men's and Women's 400m Hurdles at The Summer Olympics from 1900 to 2020 (in Seconds)." Statista, Statista Inc., 31 Dec 2019, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100893/olympics-400m-hurdles-gold-medal-times-since-1900/
olympic.org & The Guardian, Gold medal winning times in the Men's and Women's 400m hurdles at the Summer Olympics from 1900 to 2020 (in seconds) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100893/olympics-400m-hurdles-gold-medal-times-since-1900/ (last visited September 27, 2022)