Home International IAAF Who will win the 400 meters in 2016 Rio Olympics?

Who will win the 400 meters in 2016 Rio Olympics?


Possibly one of the most exciting track and field events to look forward to heading into the 2016 Olympics is the 400 meter dash. If the race is anything similar to what happen this past season at the world championships, track and field fans are in for a treat. Three athletes (Wayde van Niekerk, LaShawn Merritt, Kirani James) went under 43.8 (seconds), with Wayde van Niekerk ultimately winning in 43.48. Any other time, running under 44 seconds could have possibly won the gold, but this race was certainly one of the best 400 m competitions of all-time.

As a fan of track and field, I can honestly say I was utterly shocked to see the young South African win with in 43.48. It wasn’t necessarily the win that surprised me but more so the time. Van Nierkerk battled the reigning Olympic Champion Kirani James throughout the 2015 season. He even defeated James earlier in the season at a Diamond League meet in Paris with a time of 43.96. Both athletes are young and will hopefully have long and successful careers.

Also, let’s not forget about the American veteran LaShawn Merrit. He finished with the silver medal in the 2015 World Championships running a personal best of 43.65. Kirani James finished with the bronze in 43.78. Not bad for a third place finish!

I know it’s still early and we have yet to see the best 400 meter runners run this year, but I believe we are in for something special in 2016.

Track and Field Fans: Who is your favorite to win the 400 meters in Rio?

My favorite is none other than the reigning Olympic Champion, “The Jaguar” Kirani James. He is one of the sports brightest stars and represents the country of Grenada with pride. James has experienced great success in his career so far and shows no signs of slowing up. With a good year of training under his belt and the motivation to defend his Olympic title, I believe James will retain his crown.

In addition to his athletic prowess, James is probably one of the most humble athletes I’ve met in the sport of track and field. He wins and loses with humility. This is a very rare quality with young superstars, regardless of the sport or profession. He has what it takes to be one of the best 400 meter runners of all-time.

In this race, none of the athletes should underestimate anyone. Whether it’s James, Van Kierkerk, Merritt, or one of the other 400 specialists around the world who takes the crown, I believe we are all in for a treat. I’m hoping to see a legendary race.

Who is your favorite to win? Comment below.

Tags: 400 meters, Kirani James, Olympics

By: Dr. Brandon Spradley, Director of Sports Management, USSA. Dr. Spradley can be reached at bspradley@ussa.edu 


  1. After watching van Niekerk take care of Merrit over 300 in Jamaica, I was certain that van Niekerk would win. Merrit has done some fast times over 200 this year but he does not have the staying power of van Niekerk so after watching that 300 it seemed clear. In addition he clearly benefited from his time training with the Jamqicans. Once again the difference between the way James congratulated van Niekerk and the half hearted acknowledgement of Merrit was very apparent. James has class with a capital C.

  2. I am going for Kirani James to win the gold, Merritt the silver, ? bronze..as I think the South African will fade from the medals and some other runner will take the bronze

  3. write wayde van niekerk off at your own peril folks hes quick and hungrier than both merrit and james plus hes got a phsycological advantage over merrit after beating him in jamaica go wayde the dreamer

  4. The 400m would be a bang am a kirani James fan all the way but am going to say who ever breaks the bend to the 100m in front has a great possibility of gold

  5. Wayde van Niekerk is for real. Whether you like it or not. His win at the world championships may have come as a surprise to people outside of South Africa but not to us. Prior to the race was he amongst the top runners in the world – nothing more but nothing less. He was up there with Merrit James etc. So why did Gold come as a surprise? Kirani James is a top class person and athlete. I wish him well too. There are other fringe contenders as well. So the race is open but Wade is up there. Sub 10 sub 20?? The speed is there – Michael Johnsons record can even come under seige.

  6. One thing that van niekerk has over these 2 is speed baby speed should they be together in the last 100m then I put my money on him to win merrit has been beaten by van niekerk a couple of times now he(van niekerk) has even eclipsed merrit as the 3rd fastest 300m of all time by beating him hands down

  7. I am definitely going for Kirani and Merritt over Van Niekerk, but it could go any direction and there could even be surprises like we saw in Beijing. Don’t expect anybody to lose anyone in this race. Wade was a shocker last year and he can win at Rio, but I believe James and Merritt will get the edge. The Jaguar is still the man to beat..

  8. I have watched the race several times and van NIekerk was stronger and faster than the other two. Why do people seem to think his win was a fluke. He is improving rapidly and just broke 10secs for the 100.
    Also agree Kirani is a true sportsman. The way he congratulated van Niekerk when he must have felt very disappointed, was really special. Merrit’s behavior after the race was extreme in the opposite direction. You’d have thought he won.

  9. I can’t help but go with experience and that’s Merritt. Although he will have to have nearly a perfect race to win because of the sudden rise in the world’s elite 400m runner’s. Van Kierkerk looked invincible at world’s last yr. but I’m skeptical he can repeat that performance in Rio.

  10. Merritt certainly has the talent and desire to win. I’m going with Kirani James. It will be very interesting. We’ll see if USA continue their dominance in the 4×400. I think they will. Trinidad and Tobago, Great Britain, and Jamaica in the 4×400…should be a good race.

  11. i think mr merritt will win in rio. but the best race will be the 4×400
    men .TT JA BAH BEL ENG all trying to take down the great usa

    • Van Niekerk all the way to gold-he turns on the heat and grace like a cheetah- LaShawn and Kirani- who are tremendous athletes are destined be graceful losers> Americans are always favoured to win this event- rich experience and history on their side, top coaching, nutrition and gym access almost before they can run 100 meters but Van Niekerk’s raw talent will lead him to overcome in Rio and for a long time


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