Kevin Young - U.S.A. - Olympic & World Champion in 400mh Champion.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 06 August 1992

Click on image to enlarge

      Friday, 16 September 1966
      Watts, L.A., U.S.A.
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Kevin YOUNG - U.S.A. - Olympic & World Champion in 400mh Champion.


Kevin Young made a rapid rise to establish himself as a 400m hurdler of international standard, but his career had seemed as if it had reached a plateau, before he made a spectacular improvement at the 1992 Olympic Games. Young's first notable international competition was the 1987 Pan-American Games in Indianapolis, where he finished second to Winthrop Graham (Jamaica). In 1988, Young just scraped into the USA team for the Olympic Games in Seoul, when he finished third in the USA trials in a personal best time of 47.72sec. At Seoul, Kevin finished fourth in 47.94sec, one place behind world record holder Edwin Moses, at the end of his more than a decade long dominance of the event. In 1989, Young produced the year's fastest time of 47.86sec at Berlin on 18 August, but in 1990 he was only the year's 7th best performer with his time of 48.45sec.


The following year, he finished fourth behind Samuel Matete (Zambia) at the World Championships in Tokyo. Young made a strong start to the 1992 season and had an unbeaten record prior to the Olympic Games in Barcelona, which included a best time of 47.89sec at the USA Olympic trials. Although he was considered the favourite for the gold medal at Barcelona on this form, Young's assertion that he was going to run under 47 seconds seemed somewhat brash, especially as his personal best was still the 47.72sec he set in 1988. At Barcelona, he improved this time to 47.63sec when he finished second behind Graham in their semi-final, but then, in the final on 6 August, Kevin sensationally demolished the field to win the gold medal in a new world record of 46.78sec, a feat which well deserved the victory lap (see photo above) he treated himself to afterwards. (Ron Casey)




 Photograph taken 16th August 1993. by G. Herringshaw.   ©

                                               Gold medal at 1993 World Championships.


Kevin Young's 1992 season had been nothing short of sensational. He had been unbeaten in the 400m hurdles throughout the year, and at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, he had smashed the once thought unbreakable world record of Edwin Moses by a whopping 0.24sec, setting a new mark of 46.78sec. Young continued this superiority over his rivals into the following season, eventually building a winning streak of 25, before he was narrowly defeated (0.01sec) by Samuel Matete (Zambia) at London on 23 July. Young's favouritism for the World Championships at Stuttgart took another jolt from his two closest rivals from the previous year, Matete and Winthrop Graham (Jamaica), in his final two races before the biggest meet of the year. In the first, at Zurich on 4 August, Graham won from Matete and Young, while three days later at Monaco, Matete defeated Young again, with Graham filling third place.


This clearly made the three athletes the favourites to share the medals at Stuttgart, where Young easily won his first round heat (see photo above) on 16 August. The expectation for an exciting final increased when Graham, Matete and Young were the respective winners of the three semi-finals the following day. However in the final, Young again showed that he could rise to the big occasion, making a decisive move between hurdles 7 and 8, and holding his lead until the finish, which he reached ahead of Matete and Graham in 47.18sec, the fastest time produced in 1993, and his second fastest time ever behind his world record. Young ended his 1994 season after only two meetings, after failing to make the final at the US national championships. He continued to compete for another few years, but nowhere near the level of his 1992 and 1993 seasons. (Ron Casey)



1999     49.77     Osaka     08 MAY
1998     48.73     Clemson, SC     16 MAY
1995     50.38     Saint-Denis     01 JUN
1994     49.70     New York, NY     22 MAY
1993     47.18     Stuttgart 19 AUG
1992     46.78     Barcelona  06 AUG (PB) World record.
1991     47.83     Zürich  07 AUG
1989     47.86     Berlin     18 AUG
1988     47.72     Indianapolis  17 JUL


He had an unusual hurdling technique of switching between 12 and 13 strides

between the hurdles, departing from the 13-stride technique popularized by Edwin Moses.