Marc Raquil’s World Championship 400m Dash Bronze

Marc Raquil’s surprise 400m dash bronze at the 2003 Paris World Championships is a certified classic. The 1.91m-tall Frenchman started slowly. Running on lane five, the athlete on Raquil’s left zoomed abreast of the hometown athlete by the 150m mark, making up for the stagger. Coming into the final bend, Raquil was the obvious last placer.

The distance between Raquil and the rest of the quarter-milers were so distinct that the runner on 1st lane even caught up with the Frenchman, midway into the last bend. At the home straight, Raquil was in clear eighth place, with the three Americans leading the way into the tape.

But lo and behold, Raquil stormed through the final 60m, gradually overtaking everyone in his path. It was a dramatic finish, as the tall Frenchman nipped Calvin Harrison, compatriot Leslie Djhone and Michael Blackwood at the last eight meters of the race.

Jerome Young of the United States , caught doping four years earlier, went on to win the World Title with a 44.50s clocking. Another American, Tyree Washington won silver (44.77s). And then there’s France’s Marc Raquil (44.79s), snatching the gold from Blackwood by one-hundredths of a second.

Raquil’s last ditch burst to the tape sent the French fans into a frenzy. The animated TV announcer broke into a wild scream as a Frenchman went against all odds to win a golden bronze.

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