Derrick Adkins
Adkins in 2018
Personal information
Full nameDerrick Ralph Adkins
BornJuly 2, 1970 (1970-07-02) (age 53)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1996 Atlanta 400 m hurdles
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1995 Gothenburg 400 m hurdles
Updated on December 6, 2013.

Derrick Ralph Adkins (born July 2, 1970) is a former American track and field athlete who specialized in the 400-meter hurdles. He was an Olympic gold medalist in that event at the 1996 Summer Olympics and World Champion at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics. He was the fastest man in the world in the 1994 and 1996 seasons, and holds a personal record of 47.54 seconds.[1] Adkins was a two-time national champion at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

A Georgia Institute of Technology alumnus, he won back-to-back gold medals at the Summer Universiade from 1991 to 1993. He was also a gold medalist at the 1994 Goodwill Games and the 1996 IAAF Grand Prix Final. He represented the United States four times at the World Championships in Athletics, also reaching the final in 1991 and 1993.

Following his competitive retirement he remained connected with the sport and served as director of The Armory Track and Field Center between 2006 and 2011.


Early life

Born in Brooklyn, New York,[2] Adkins was raised in Lakeview, New York in Long Island where he attended Malverne High School, graduating in 1988. That year he was ranked as the number one high school 400-meter hurdler in the nation, having run the race in 50.71 seconds. He attended Georgia Tech where he earned a bachelor's degree at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering in June 1993. He also earned a certificate in biomedical engineering. Coached by Buddy Fowlkes and Grover Hinsdale at Georgia Tech, he became a six-time All American in the 400-meter hurdles and in the 4×400-meter relay.

His first international success was a gold medal double in the 400 m hurdles and 4 × 400-meter relay at the 1989 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships.[3]

Senior career

Adkins reached his first senior global final at the 1991 World Championships in Athletics, placed sixth overall. He returned two years later at the 1993 World Championships in Athletics, ending in seventh on that occasion. His first major title followed at the 1994 Goodwill Games in Saint Petersburg, where he ran a games record time of 47.86 seconds to claim the gold.[4] Adkins was runner-up to Samuel Matete at the 1994 IAAF Grand Prix Final that year.[5]

At the 1995 World Championships in Goteborg, Sweden, Adkins won the gold narrowly ahead of his career long rival Samuel Matete from Zambia in a time of 47.98 seconds. In the beginning of the 1996 season Matete beat Adkins four times in a row. Then just before the Games in Atlanta, Adkins defeated Matete in the Paris Grand Prix at the Stade de France in a time of 47.70.

At the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Adkins won the gold medal in a time of 47.54, beating Matete by 0.24 seconds.

In his career Adkins broke the 48-second barrier 20 times. He is one of the few hurdlers who have won back-to-back gold medals in the World Championships and Olympic Games. He was a two-time USA National Champion in 1994 and 1995. He was a two-time winner of the Weltklasse Zurich meet, having won the 1995 meet in a time of 47.65 seconds. He was a two-time winner of the Millrose Games in the 500 meters having run 1:01.71 at Madison Square Garden. He has set stadium records and meet records at the Penn Relays, the Lucerne Grand Prix (47.68), the Linz Grand Prix (47.70), and the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia (47.86).

He ceased to compete internationally after 2000 and made his last appearance at the national championships in 2004, pulling up in the heats of the 400 m hurdles.[6]

Post-competitive career

In October 1996, local authorities of his hometown of Lakeview lobbied to change the name of the street where he was raised, from Seneca Road to Derrick Adkins Lane.

Adkins served as an assistant track & field coach at Columbia University between 2004 and 2006. While coaching at Columbia, his athletes set seven school records and won six Ivy League individual-event championships.[citation needed]

Adkins served as director of The Armory Track and Field Center between 2006 and 2011. During his time at The Armory, the organization began hosting more than 100 track meets per year. He was influential in the decision to bring the Millrose Games from Madison Square Garden to The Armory where it continues to be staged annually.

At the Armory Track & Field Center, Adkins also served as the Director of Armory College Prep, a college readiness program which served the student-athletes who attended the center. Students were provided college counseling services, academic tutoring, and SAT preparation instruction.

He was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Personal issues

In 2009, Adkins was arrested for driving while intoxicated.[7] He admits to having suffered a long-term battle with clinical depression and alcohol addiction.[8][9]

In 2013, Adkins was arrested for obstruction of governmental administration in Long Beach, New York.[10] The charges were dismissed. The initial charge was that he was running and walking in the wrong lanes on a boardwalk. In court, it was revealed that there were never any lanes on the boardwalk. The arresting officer never appeared in court. The Nassau County Public Corruption Bureau investigated the case and thereafter issued a written admonishment to the Long Beach Police Department.

On December 17, 2022, the New York Times published an article wherein Adkins states that his depression emerged from head injuries which he had experienced as an athlete due to hurdle collisions.

Personal records


Season's bests

Rankings from Track and Field Statistics[11]

Year Time Rank
2003 49.73
2002 49.67
2001 50.42
2000 49.84
1999 48.71 22
1998 48.72 20
1997 48.00 6
1996 47.54 1
1995 47.54 3
1994 47.70 1
1993 48.39 6
1992 48.64 12
1991 48.60 8
1990 49.53 25
1989 50.25
1988 50.71

International competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1989 Pan American Junior Championships Santa Fe, Argentina 1st 400 m hurdles 50.92
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:11.76
1991 Universiade Sheffield, United Kingdom 1st 400 m hurdles 49.01
World Championships Tokyo, Japan 6th 400 m hurdles 49.28
1993 Universiade Amherst, United States 1st 400 m hurdles 49.35
World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 7th 400 m hurdles 49.07
1994 Goodwill Games Saint Petersburg, Russia 1st 400 m hurdles 47.86 GR
Grand Prix Final Paris, France 2nd 400 m hurdles 48.05
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 1st 400 m hurdles 47.98
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 1st 400 m hurdles 47.54
Grand Prix Final Milan, Italy 1st 400 m hurdles 48.63
1997 World Championships Athens, Greece 5th (semis) 400 m hurdles 48.95
1998 Goodwill Games Uniondale, United States 8th 400 m hurdles 49.74

National titles

Circuit wins

See also


  1. ^ World Top Performers. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  2. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Derrick Adkins". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2009-07-25.
  3. ^ Pan American Junior Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  4. ^ Goodwill Games. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  5. ^ IAAF Grand Prix. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  6. ^ Derrick Adkins. IAAF. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  7. ^ Olympic Gold Medalist Busted for DWI in New York. DWI Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  8. ^ Longman, Jere (2000-07-20). OLYMPICS; Adkins's Tough Choice: Speed or Stable Moods. New York Times. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  9. ^ Landells, Steve (2017-06-17). World Championships wonders – Derrick Adkins . IAAF. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  10. ^ Olympic medalist Derrick Adkins arrested in Long Beach. Newsday (2013-09-19). Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  11. ^ Derrick Adkins. Track and Field Statistics. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  12. ^ USA Championships (Men). GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-05-08.