How the world reacted to Karsten Warholm’s obliteration of the 400m hurdles world record

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Six Olympic Games have passed between Kevin Young and Karsten Warholm breaking the men’s 400m hurdles record at the competition. Photo: Dick Thomas Johnson via Flickr.

Using words to describe the Olympic final of the men’s 400m hurdles could almost be considered unfair.

Unfair on the athletes, unfair on the mere English, Norwegian, Portuguese or indeed any language of your choice.

Last month in Oslo, Karsten Warholm shaved a small 0.08 seconds off the longstanding 46.78 world record set by Kevin Young in winning the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

In Tokyo, the 25-year-old from Norway won gold in 45.94, leaving us all utterly speechless. All three medallists, with Rai  Benjamin of the USA second (46.17) and Alison dos Santos (46.72) a remarkably-distant third, were inside Young’s old record.

Here are some of the best reactions and attempts to explain what happened, an unfathomable conquest which some stayed up until the dead of night for, and others had the shock of waking up to.

2012 Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson sums up the struggle to process what has come before our eyes

The Backstraight Boys Podcasters Jody and Bayo are rarely left speechless

Winning meant so much to Rai Benjamin

An extraordinary visualisation if you imagine him in the British final as the only runner jumping over hurdles and still winning

My personal favourite take on the race

A similar striking comparison in the context of Tokyo 2020

Number crunching to make your head explode

Finally, what we already knew in one sentence. (Shouted louder for those at the back).

Click here to see the licensing details for the header image used in this article.


First published on: 3 August, 2021 12:24 pm

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