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TOKYO — Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas added an Olympic gold medal to the World Championship gold he won in 2019, pulling away from the pack with 50 meters to go and winning in 43.85 seconds.
Colombia's Anthony Jose Zambrano took silver in 44.08 seconds, and Grenada's Kirani James earned the bronze (44.19), becoming the first male to win three Olympic 400m medals.
Gardiner appeared to get out a little slow over the first 100 meters and then turned things up. The Bahamas could have the winner in both the men's and women's 400m — Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the defending gold medalist from Rio, is one of the top contenders in her race again this year.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 5, 2021
American Michael Norman got off to a very fast start, and was in the lead with about 150 meters to go. But he was unable to hold on and finished fifth (44.31). Teammate Michael Cherry was fourth in a lifetime best 44.21.
This marks the first time in Olympic history the U.S. men didn't win a single gold medal in the short sprints (100, 200, 400) and the hurdles, per NBC Sports' Nick Zaccardi.
Norman ran 44.07 seconds at the U.S. Trials but his 44.52 in the semis here was just the fifth-best time. Norman's mother was born in Japan, and he had discussed what it meant that his first Olympics was in her homeland.
James, the pride of Grenada who won Olympic gold in 2012, has been consistent for a decade and came into the final with the fastest time in the semis. It is his third straight Olympics with a medal.
South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk, who broke the world record in the 2016 Olympics final, did not advance to the medal race in Tokyo. Playing in a celebrity tag rugby match in 2017, Van Niekirk tore his ACL and hasn't returned to form since.
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