Karsten Warholm of Norway absolutely destroyed his own world record Tuesday in Japan by three-quarters of a second, setting an unfathomable mark of 45.94 – one likely never to be surpassed – to win Olympic gold in one of the greatest hurdling races in history.
The two-time reigning world champion ripped his singlet at the chest like Superman after crossing the line in amazement, gazing at the clock in disbelief.
Rai Benjamin broke former world record-holder Kevin Young's American record in 46.17 to win silver, more than a half-second under Warholm's previous all-time best mark.
Alison dos Santos took bronze for Brazil in a South America-area record of 46.72.
Warholm and Benjamin's 1-2 podium finish at the 2019 World Championships kicked off a wild pursuit of Young’s 46.78 world record set at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
In late June at U.S. Olympic Trials, Benjamin became the first to truly threaten the elusive mark, running 46.83 for the second-fastest time in history, just five-hundredths of a second short.
Then, only five days later in front of a roaring home crowd at Oslo’s Bislett Stadion, Warholm finally took it down clocking 46.70 to break the long-standing 29-year-old world record.
The Norweigian made his Olympic debut in Rio but didn’t make it past the semifinals, then turned heads the next year with his 2017 world title, which he’d successfully defend in 2019.
Benjamin, a native of Mount Vernon, New York, made his Olympic debut in Tokyo. He'll likely be a member of the men’s 4x400m relay team.