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05 Aug 1984
Los Angeles 1984

Moses finishes with another golden flourish

There have been few, if any, periods of domination in a particular sport quite like that of Ed Moses.

Moses was the most elegant of 400m hurdlers, who required just 13 graceful steps between the obstacles as opposed to the 14 of most of his contemporaries and for a period he was literally unbeatable.

Starting from 1977, the American won 122 consecutive races and was unbeaten over a period of the now trademark nine years, nine months and nine days.

His first international meeting was the 1976 Olympics in Montreal; he won the gold, smashed the world record and his winning distance was the largest enjoyed in the history of the sport at the Games.

His achievement was all the more surprising as he was a mere 20-year-old and had only just missed having to do army training ahead of going to the war in Vietnam, which ended the previous year.

Four years later, boycott deprived him of the chance of an almost certain second gold in Moscow as his reign of domination over the distance was at its peak.

Come the time of his home Games at Los Angeles in 1984, he was at the height of his powers.

He was regularly running sub 48 seconds when few of his rivals got near the mark, and with a vocal home crowd roaring him on there was only going to be one winner.

He qualified at a canter with the fastest times in the qualifying round and semis and started in lane six for the final, his biggest threats being fellow American Danny Harris and West German Harald Schmidt.

Harris, 18, had never even run a 400m hurdles race prior to 1984 would become the next runner to beat Moses in 1987 while Schmidt was the last to beat the loping American in 1977.

Moses did little to calm his nerves before the race with a clear false start and there was a tense hush as the athletes settled in their blocks once again.

Once the race started Moses was quickly into his beautiful stride pattern, opening up a lead on the back straight that his rivals would never close.

He won in 47.75, slower than his Montreal time, with Harris holding firm to the line to edge out Schmidt for the silver.

He won his second world title in Rome in 1987 but finished third in the final of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.

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