Olympic Women’s 400 Preview: Allyson Felix Goes for a Record Fifth Olympic Gold Medal But Will Shaunae Miller Crash The Party?

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by LetsRun.com
August 11, 2016

We break down the women’s 400 for you below.

What: Women’s 400

Event Time and Date:
Quarterfinals – 10:00 a.m. ET Saturday, August 13
Semis – 7:35 p.m. ET Sunday, August 14
Final – 9:45 p.m. ET Monday, August 15

2016 World Top 10

Result P.A. Pos. Athlete Birth Cnt. Type Pl. Venue Date R.S.
49.55 1. 1. Shaunae MILLER 94 BAH F 1. London (GBR) 22.07 1224
49.68 2. 2. Allyson FELIX 85 USA F 1. Eugene (USA) 03.07 1218
49.71 3. 4. Courtney OKOLO 94 USA F2 1. Baton Rouge (USA) 23.04 1217
49.91 4. 5. Quanera HAYES 92 USA F 2. Nassau (BAH) 16.04 1209
49.94 5. 6. Phyllis FRANCIS 92 USA F 2. Eugene (USA) 03.07 1208
50.04 6. 7. Stephenie Ann MCPHERSON 88 JAM F 1. Kingston (JAM) 03.07 1204
50.17 7. 9. Natasha HASTINGS 86 USA F 3. Eugene (USA) 03.07 1199
50.23 8. 10. Francena MCCORORY 88 USA F 2. Eugene (USA) 28.05 1196
50.25 9. 11. Taylor ELLIS-WATSON 93 USA F 4. Eugene (USA) 03.07 1195
50.29 10. 13. Christine DAY 86 JAM F 2. Kingston (JAM) 03.07 1194

2015 Worlds Top 5
Gold: Allyson Felix, USA 49.26
Silver: Shaunae Miller, Bahamas 49.67
Bronze: Shericka Jackson, Jamaica 49.99
4. Christine Day, Jamaica 50.14
5. Stephenie Ann McPherson, Jamaica 50.42

Betting Favorites

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Note: Caster Semenya is not running the 400 in Rio

Track and Field News Top 3 Picks:

1. Allyson Felix (USA) 49.26 (’15)
2. Shaunae Miller (Bahamas) 49.55 (’16)
3. Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jamaica) 49.92 (’13)

LRC Prediction Contest Votes

Allyson Felix 82.9%
Shaunae Miller 16%
Stephenie Ann Mcpherson 0.4%
Phyllis Francis 0.3%
Other 0.1%
Christine Ohuruogu 0.1%
Natasha Hastings 0.1%

LRC Analysis: The LRC faithful are way more confident in Allyson Felix than the bookies. More than 80% of LetsRun.com nation has picked Felix to win. Felix deserves to be the favorite for a number of reasons.

  1. She’s got the best pb of anyone in the field.
  2. She’s the defending world champion
  3. She split a ridiculous 47.74 on the 4 x 400 last year: MB: I just split Allyson Felix in 47.74 OMG!!!
Will Felix live up to the hype?

Will Felix live up to the hype?

That being said, we don’t think she’s a lock for gold. For starters, it needs to be remembered that Felix hurt her ankle earlier in the year and didn’t even make the Olympics in her favorite event – the 200. She has yet to compete on the European circuit and hasn’t raced since the Olympic Trials. Has her training gone well since then? We think so as at a Rio press conference she told the LA Times that she really wishes she was in the 200 given how she feels now but did acknowledge that she still has “some issues with recovery.”

If Felix isn’t in top form, she’s going to have a hard time beating 2016 world leader Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas. Miller, who ran at Georgia for one year (won NCAA indoors, 2nd outdoors), is a big-time talent. Just 22, as compared to Felix’s 30, Miller is undefeated at 400 on the year. She ran fast to open the year – 49.69 in April – and then again in her last race before Rio – a world-leading 49.55 to win in London.

Besides Felix and Miller, a number of women could medal. The only one we could see winning gold would be US runner-up Phyllis Francis.

The 400 final this year will look completely different than four years ago. Only one of the eight finalists is even competing.

1 Sanya Richards-Ross USA 49.55 –  didn’t make US team, will be broadcasting for NBC.
2 Christine Ohuruogu GBR 49.7 – a shadow of her former self. Just 51.05 this year.
3 Deedee Trotter USA 49.72  didn’t make US team
4 Amantle Montsho BOT 49.75 – doping ban
5 Novlene Williams-Mills JAM 50.11 – she might be in 400 but was 4th at Jamaican Trials and we think is on just 4 x 400.
6 Antonina Krivoshapka RUS 50.17 – Russia isn’t here for the most part.
7 Francena McCorory USA 50.33 – 5th at US Trials.
8 Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson JAM 50.79 – not competing any more.

LRC Picks: We’re tempted to pick Miller in an upset as Felix has ended up with individual silver (200 in 2004 and 2008) at 2 of her 3 Olympics but memories of the 47.74 split are still in our mind.

Gold: Felix. Silver: Miller Bronze: Francis

If Felix does win gold, she’ll become the first women’s track and field athlete with five Olympic gold medals. Felix has already won gold in the 4 x 400 in 2008 and 2012, the 4 x 100 in 2012 and 200 in 2012. Even if she doesn’t do it in this event, it’s almost bound to happen later as Felix is also on the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400.

Five other women have won four Olympic gold medals in track and field. They are: Evelyn Ashford (100, 4 x 100 three times), Sanya Richards-Ross (400, 4 x 400 three times), Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands (100, 200, 80 hurdles, 4 x 100), Betty Cuthbert of Australia  (100, 200, 400, 4 x 100), and East Germany’s Bärbel Wöckel (200 twice, 4 x 100 twice).

For even more on the women’s 400, check out the IAAF preview here.


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