LONDON — Butch Reynolds of the United States recorded the sixth fastest 400 meters ever Friday, winning in a time of 44.15 seconds at the Crystal Palace.
The time was the third fastest ever at sea level and the fastest ever in Europe. Lee Evans' world record of 43.86 was set in the 1968 Olympic Games at 7,000-foot-high Mexico City.
Darren Clark of Australia led for the first 200 meters, with Derek Redmond close behind. Reynolds, whose best time is 44.10, then took the lead and withstood a late challenge by Innocent Egbunike of Nigeria, who was second in 44.45.
"I flew in from Chicago on Wednesday, so really I am still jet-lagged," Reynolds said shortly after finishing his first race outside the United States. "I think I can break the 43-second barrier; I want to do it, and it may be soon, once I get used to being in Europe."
Edwin Moses, the two-time Olympic champion and world record-holder, became the first man to run the 400-meter hurdles in under 48 seconds in Britain when he was clocked in 47.94.
Reynolds, 22, who has never run at altitude, will race on faster tracks at Paris and Nice next week and has a realistic shot at Evans' world record.
The Ohio State runner credited Moses for his recent success, saying: "He gave me a lot of advice earlier this summer, and without that I don't think I would be doing so well now. He told me to pace myself, and not to stretch myself too much too early. He really helped me."
Moses, 32, broke the British record set last year by Danny Harris of the United States, who last month ended Moses' string of 107 straight victories.
"It was nice to win, and good to get the record back from Danny Harris," Moses said. "The conditions tonight were ideal--a slight breeze and good weather."
Lee McRae of the United States won the 100 meters in 10.17, ahead of Chidi Imoh of Nigeria (10.18) and European champion Linford Christie of Britain (10.21), who never recovered from a poor start.
Floyd Heard of the United States won the 200 meters in 20.46, beating Atlee Mahorn of Canada (20.76). Both Heard and Mahorn are considered strong contenders for next month's World Championships at Rome.
Fatima Whitbread of Britain won the women's javelin with a throw of 239 feet 5 inches. Mike Hill of Britain won the men's competition with a throw of 270-9.
Former 5,000-meter world record-holder David Moorcroft of Britain, who returned to competition following a five-year battle against illness and injury, lost at the finish line to Arturo Barrios of Mexico after a desperate final surge.