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 firstname.lastname@example.org