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Harry Butch Reynolds  United States
08  Jun  1964

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400 metres Dash All-Time Rankings   (with Butch Reynolds)

Harry ("Butch") Reynolds
(born in Akron, Ohio) is a former 400 metres sprinter, representing the United States.

On August 17, 1988 he set a 400 metres Dash world record with 43.29 seconds, smashing Lee Evans' 20 year old world record by an amazing 0.57 seconds. The record was finally broken by Michael Johnson (43.18) in 1999.

He won a silver medal in the 1988 Summer Olympics on the 400 metres and a gold medal on the 4 x 400 m relay. In the IAAF World Championships in Athletics he won a bronze medal in 1987, and silver medals in 1993 and 1995. He also won gold medals on the 4 x 400 metre relays in 1987, 1993 and 1995.

In the 1996 American Olympic trials he finished second behind Michael Johnson, clocking 43.91, the fastest non-winning 400 metres performance ever. However, in the 1996 Summer Olympics semifinal, he suffered a hamstring injury, failed to qualify for the final, and also had to withdraw from the relay team.

He retired after the 1999 season. Reynolds has since established the Butch Reynolds Care for Kids Foundation and was the speed coach for the Ohio State University football team up until is resignation in April, 2008.


Improper Drug Suspension and Vindication

Butch Reynolds was suspended for two years by the IAAF for alleged illegal drug use in 1990. This was the start of a long legal fight, after which the US Supreme Court ordered the United States Olympic Committee to allow him to participate in the 1992 American Olympic trials, after finding the testing procedures were flawed from the beginning. This injunction brought American law and equity into conflict with the rules of International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which prohibited suspended athletes from competing. In fact, the IAAF threatened to suspend any athlete that competed against Butch Reynolds. The American Olympic trial 400 metres heats were postponed for four days, but the IAAF finally backed down. Reynolds finished 5th in the trials, and qualified for a place as a substitute on the American 4 x 400 metres relay team. However, the IAAF (which had administered the flawed test) then banned him from competing in the 1992 Olympics.

That same year Reynolds also won a libel suit against the IAAF, and was awarded $27.3 million in damages. A federal appeals panel later overturned the verdict on jurisdictional grounds.