When people think of a country’s 400 meters success, the USA immediately comes to mind.
The 5th and 6th place sprinters at the USATF Trials who stay home and watch the Games on TV would easily be a member of another country’s 400 meter National team. (actually, the 5th and 6th are considered for the 4x400m relay pool, so make that the 7th and 8th place finisher at the finals)
Canada hasn’t sent a 4x400m relay team in decades despite the success of Tyler Christopher and 400mH Adam Kunkel.
It’s Better in The Bahamas
But what about Bahamas?
With the recent success of Chris Brown and Andretti Bain, along with Michael Mathieu and Andre Williams, the Bahamas’ 4x400m relay team finished with the Silver medal in a time of 2:58.03 at the Beijing Olympic Games. The Bahamas National record is 2:57.32 from yet another Silver medal at the Helsinki World Championships in 2005.
2 years ago, Alpheus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson wrote a book called Bahamas Track and Field – From Vancouver To Athens. He recently wrote an article for the Bahamas Journal
Here is a partial summary (a great read, by the way):
Some fifty years ago the Pioneers Sporting Club ran 3:30.0 to win the Empire Day meet, May 24th, 1961. This was some thirty three seconds less than the present record. Even our women’s record is faster than 3:30.0.
On that Pioneer team fifty years ago were Winston “Gus” Cooper, Hugh Bullard, Kirk Knowles, and Julian Brown. Both Bullard and Brown had attended the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, while they were students of St. John’s College. Bullard ran the 400m in 51.8sec and Brown was unable to participate since he fell ill.
That March Bullard, the speedster, and Brown, the eight hundred meter star ran the fastest 400m race ever witnessed in The Bahamas. At St. Augustine’s College track Brown clocked 49.9sec, the first time that a sub fifty second race had ever been done in The Bahamas. Bullard crawled over the line to finish the race.
Fast forward seventeen years to Medellin, Colombia at the 1978 Central American and Caribbean Games. A team of Rudy Levarity, Steve Hanna, Rickey Moxey, and Andre Newbold clocked 3:10.52 for a new Bahamian National record.
At the Central American and Caribbean Senior Championships in Havana in 1983 a team of Allan Ingraham, Joey Wells, Greg Rolle, and David Charlton clocked 3:07.06 to win the Silver medal.
I took another ten years for another breakthrough in this event. Sidney Cartwright, head of the Bahamas Tigers concentrated on this event.
In 1995 at the IAAF World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, Troy McIntosh (46.1sec), Dennis Darling (45.6sec), Tim Munnings (46.51sec) and, Carl Oliver (45.65sec) ran 3:02.85 to place sixth in the semi-final.
This time was improved to 3:02.17 in the Atlanta semi-final with Carl Oliver running 47.28sec, Troy McIntosh 44.90sec, Dennis Darling 45.28sec, and Tim Munnings 45.25sec.
Due to Nigeria being disqualified in the semi, The Bahamas advanced to the final where they ran 3:02.71 for seventh.
At the Sydney Olympic Games the team of Avard Moncur , Troy McIntosh, Carl Oliver, and Chris Brown ran 2:59.23 for fourth, behind The USA, Jamaica, and Nigeria. Due to doping infractions by the USA the Bahamas moved up to the Bronze medal. They had run 2:50.02 in the semi-final.
The next year in Edmonton, Canada, The Bahamas finished second with a 2:58.19 clocking. The splits were Moncur-45.1sec, Brown-44.6sec, McIntosh-44.42sec, and Munnings-44.13sec.
Based upon more doping infractions by the USA, The Bahamas was given the Gold medal.
At the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, the team of Nathaniel McKinney, Avard Moncur, Andre Williams, and Chris Brown finished in second place with a new Bahamian National record of 2:57.32.