From world champion to Olympic gold medallist, Steven Gardiner is the undisputed king of 400m. Running a perfectly timed and composed race, Steven Gardiner sprinted away from the rest of the field over the final 50 meters to win gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Thursday night (5).
The lanky 25-year-old crossed in 43.85 to become the first athlete from the Bahamas to win an individual Olympic gold in any sport.
“I’m cherishing this moment,” Gardiner said, before shaking his head and uttering the words he’s longed to hear attached to his name. “Olympic champion.”
Gardiner finished comfortably ahead of Anthony Jose Zambrano, who took silver in 44.08 to become the first Colombian man to win an Olympic athletics medal. Former champion Kirani James of Grenada earned bronze in 44.19, securing his record third medal in the 400m.
In an event they used to thoroughly dominate, USA athletes were shut out of the medals completely. Teammates Michael Cherry and Michael Norman settled for fourth and fifth, respectively, in 44.21 and 44.31.
Gardiner claimed the 400m world title in Doha in 2019, two years after taking silver at the World Championships in London. He was in top form this year heading into Tokyo, winning all five of the 400m races in which he finished.
With no clear favourite going into Thursday’s final, Steven Gardiner stamped his authority on the race with a dominant performance that left no doubt who is the world’s best.
Running in lane seven, Gardiner stayed close with Norman, James and other leaders down the backstraight, but was trailing slightly as they rounded the final turn.
With about 100 meters to go, Steven Gardiner accelerated and was clearly in front by the 50-metre mark. With his usual upright running style and looking perfectly composed and relaxed, he pulled away with his long strides all the way to the line.