Perhaps the best performance of the entire 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games occurred late on Monday night. In the men’s 400m hurdles final, Karsten Warholm of Norway and Rai Benjamin of America battled back and forth. Around one lap with 10 hurdles to glide over, the two men put on a show for those watching in the stadium and around the world. The world record going into the even was 46.70 seconds set by Warholm in early July this year.
Many experts and analysts were saying that a world record would need to be run to win this gold medal. They were not wrong. Karsten Warholm has the best start in the world. Through the first 300 meters, Warholm looked as though he would easily run to victory. Rai Benjamin, the best closer in the world in this event, closed. From 300-350 meters, Benjamin gave Warholm a real race.
The two powered through the proverbial wall and surged to the finish line. Warholm crossed the line with Benjamin close behind.
You saw that correctly. Warholm ran a sub-46-second performance. For those that know track, sub-46 hasn’t even been considered a possibility prior to this race. Warholm shattered his own world record. The performance was powerful and undoubtedly the best race of the Olympics so far.
After Karsten Warholm held off Rai Benjamin’s advance after 300m, you could tell how special this race was. The athletes reach a level no one else has before. Benjamin would finish in 46.17 seconds. That time demolished the previous world record as well. However, it was only good enough for second place.
Karsten Warholm’s Historic Victory
After this race was finished it was clear how historic it was. Warholm and Benjamin both set the top two fastest times ever and national records. Brazil’s Alison dos Santos also set a personal best, a national record, and a continental record as well. That makes the Brazilian the fastest man ever from South America in the 400m hurdles.
When thinking of comparisons to other performances, there really isn’t one. Two hours is the mark in the marathon. Sub-19 seconds for the 200m is the next horizon in the event. Warholm and Benjamin took the idea of what the threshold was for their event and threw it to the side. Running 46.17 and 45.95 and bringing the record down from 46.70 is superhuman. The speed, strength, and endurance of those men are nothing short of amazing.
As for the rest of the track events this Olympics, there isn’t an event that can really rival this one. Unless something truly dramatic happens in one of the remaining finals, fans may not see a better result than what just occurred tonight.
The only event that may surpass this one is the women’s 400m hurdles. Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad have to be super motivated after watching the men’s final. The two women are the top two ever in the event. McLaughlin recently became the first woman under 52-seconds at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon. That final is Tuesday night at 10:30 PM.