The few witnesses knew they were going to witness something special on Tuesday afternoon in the sauna: the Olympic Stadium. Karsten Warholm, a raucous Norwegian hurdler, was also poised for an unforgettable moment. As felt by his seven rivals.
It turned out to be a formidable thing.
Warholm won a gold medal and broke his own world record, a record he achieved just over a month ago against his compatriots in Oslo.
It turned out to be a sporting masterpiece, and perhaps one of the best races of all time.
“It’s not in my wildest imagination to think it’s possible,” Warholm said after stopping the clock with a time of 45.94 seconds.
He broke the previous record, by 76 hundredths. Huge word falls short.
It was such a fast-paced race that runner-up, American Ray Benjamin, also beat Warholm’s old record by more than half a second at 46.17.
And third on the list, Brazilian Alison dos Santos, also came within a hair’s eye of breaking the previous record with his time of 46.72, which would have been a world record five weeks ago.
Three of the four fastest times in the history of 400 hurdles in a single race.
to put it straight. Felix Sanchez – the Dominican double Olympic champion and world champion – did not make it to the territory of 46 countries during a gold tournament that ran from 2001 to 2012.
Warholm ripped his shirt off as he crossed the finish line, showing off the same stunning look he did when storming out with his 2017 World Cup victory.
“If they tell me I’m going to run to 46.1 and lose, I will most likely knock you down and get you out of my room,” Benjamin said. “I’m glad I was a part of something historic.”
Even the individual who placed seventh among the eight finalists – Estonian Rasmus Magi – was among a group of six who set a world, continental or national record in the race.
For comparison, at 400 shots, it took 48 years to break the record by this margin – 83 percent between 1968 (Lee Evans) and 2016 (Wayde van Niekerk).
“After the second hurdle, I was like… to win the last six Olympic events,” said Kieron McMaster, a BVI sprinter whose 47.08 record was his fourth but it was enough.
It is amazing to remember that at the dawn of July 1, 2021, the world record for the 400 hurdles was 46.78. Founded by American Kevin Young at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Days ago, Benjamin scored 46.83 points in the US Olympic qualifiers. There was something massive brewing in Tokyo, and it was.
Many questions were left floating.
Will they continue to run under the age of 46? Will the new world record hold?
Since Warholm and Benjamin are rivals with the ability to push themselves to the limit, it’s best not to miss the following duels.
Did they take part in the best race in history? The list includes the duel between Sebastian Coe and Steve Offit (800 in Moscow 1980), Michael Johnson (200 in Atlanta 1996) or Usain Bolt (lots to choose from).
“I’ve always said the perfect race doesn’t exist,” Warholm said. “But I think this is the closest race ever to a perfect race.”
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