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Karsten Warholm, Rai Benjamin in legendary Olympic race

In just one race, two Olympians broke the same record.

Norway’s Karsten Warholm and the United States’ Rai Benjamin ran arguably one of the most memorable races in Olympics history in the men’s 400m hurdles. Warholm ran a 45.94, which broke his previous world record of 46.70. Benjamin, the silver medal winner, also smashed that record by running a 46.17. Even Bronze medal winner Alison dos Santos from Brazil nearly surpassed it, finishing with a 46.72.

After the race, Warholm was euphoric. In celebration, the Norwegian let out a celebratory scream while ripping his uniform in half. He then dropped to his knees in disbelief.

“Sometimes in training, my coaches keep telling me this could be possible with the perfect race,” Warholm said. “But it was hard to imagine it because it’s a big barrier, and it’s something you don’t even dream about.”

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The original record was held by American Kevin Young at the Barcelona Olympics, he ran a 46.78 and the record stood for nearly 30 years. Until, June 30, when Warholm broke the record at a Diamond League meet.

Karsten Warholm celebrates winning the gold medal and setting a new world record of 45.94 in the Men''s 400m Hurdles.
Karsten Warholm celebrates winning the gold medal and setting a new world record of 45.94 in the Men”s 400m Hurdles.Bob Strong/UPI/Shutterstock
Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin in the Men''s 400m Hurdles at the Olympics.
Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin in the Men”s 400m Hurdles at the Olympics.
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Benjamin declared the race as the “best race in Olympic history” and called his loss “the nature of the beast.” He was happy with the final outcome, even if it wasn’t exactly what he envisioned.

“If you would’ve told me that I was going to run 46.1 and lose, I would probably beat you up and tell you to get out of my room,” Benjamin said after the race. “I’m happy to be part of history.”

For Warholm, this is his first Olympics medal. The 25-year-old does have six gold medals combined from the World Championships, European Championships, and European Indoor Championships.

And now, a world record on the biggest stage in sports.


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