Debut in Olympics
The 400 meter sprint event for women made its debut at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games. Thereafter, the event has been the part of every Olympics schedule.
- The length and width of the track and lanes within it has been specified by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
- At the first false start, the sprinter is issued a warning. Another false start attracts disqualification.
- Stepping on the inner line of the track could attract disqualification.
- An athlete who steps outside the track when a race is on is out of the event. She is prohibited from joining the race again.
- Maximum radius of the outside lane of the track has been set to 50 meter.
- If the number of participants is more than ten, preliminary heat events are organized. The top ten of these events enter the next round.
- The track should be made of the substance which is capable of enduring the spiked shoes.
- A standard automatic timing device recognized by the IAAF should be used for measurement of time in the event.
- Any athlete who obstructs the path of her fellow athlete will be disqualified from the competition. In this case, the event will be organized again.
- Any athlete who fails to reach the finishing line is not given any credit, even if she has run faster than the winner.
Athletes participating in the 400 meter sprint event apply a different type of technique. Usually, after the start, the athletes run hard up to the first curve. Then, they slow down a bit and run comparatively slower till the second curve of the track. Once they cross it, they take their maximum speed to reach the finishing line.
Famed sprinters in 400 meter sprint for women are Colette Besson, Monika Zehrt, Irena Szewinska, Marita Koch, Valerie Brisco-Hooks, Ann Packer, Lillian Board, Rita Wilden, Christina Brehmer, Jarmila Kratochvilova, Olga Bryzgina, Marie-Jose Perec, Cathy Freeman, Tonique Williams-Darling, Chandra Cheeseborough, Petra Schersing, Lorraine Fenton, Betty Cuthbert, Ana Guevara and Sanya Richards.