American hurdler Dalilah Muhammad got off to a fast start in the final of the 400 meter hurdles, and the margin gained during that stretch led to Muhammad taking gold by a comfortable margin.
Muhammad finished the race in 53.14 seconds, beating Denmark’s Sarah Petersen by more than four tenths of a second. While the rest of the field may have entertained hopes of Muhammad tiring out from that fast start she never did, taking gold in her first Summer Olympic appearance. Muhammad was one of two Americans to medal in the final, with Ashley Spencer taking bronze with a time of 53.72 seconds.
The U.S. has now managed to win two medals in the women’s 400 meter hurdles three times since the event was added to the Games in 1982, with this also occurring in 1992 and 1996. However in neither of those years did an American take gold, with Sandra Farmer-Patrick taking silver and Janeene Vickers bronze in 1992 and Kim Batten and Tonja Buford-Bailey winning the silver and bronze medals in 1996.
Muhammad is the first American woman to take gold in the 400 hurdles, and the medals won by she and Spencer pushed the U.S. to 100 medals in these Olympics. The U.S. has won 100 medals or more in each of the last four Summer Olympics.