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'The Best Race Ever': Records Get Smashed in Blazing Fast Men's 400m Hurdles Final

·3 min read
'The Best Race Ever': Records Get Smashed in Blazing Fast Men's 400m Hurdles Final

What's better than one record? Six of them.

That was the result at Thursday's men's 400m hurdles event at the Tokyo Summer Olympics as the top four finishers and six of the finalists overall set records, with gold medal winner Karsten Warholm, of Norway, setting a world record.

Warholm, 25, bested the previous record-holder … himself.

American Rai Benjamin won silver and set an area (or continental) record. His time also broke Warholm's previous world best.

Brazilian bronze medalist Alison dos Santos, meanwhile, set his own area record. And Kyron McMaster, from the British Virgin Islands, set a national record in fourth place — and so on.

But it was the face-off between Warholm and Benjamin that, as USA Today described it, was seen by the Norwegian press as a climactic event in Japan.

The racers said it lived up to that hype.

Karsten Warholm
Karsten Warholm

Photo by Wang Lili/Xinhua via Getty Images

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Karsten Warholm, Rai Benjamin
Karsten Warholm, Rai Benjamin

Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

"I would say this was probably the best race ever, in Olympic history," Benjamin, 24, told reporters afterward. "I don't think any other race compares to what we just did, about two hours ago. It's undeniable. Like, there's nothing you can compare to what just happened out there."

McMaster, 24, agreed: "What you saw today was the epitome of greatness."

Warholm told reporters — in no uncertain terms — that the record and the gold meant so much to him and that he had "spent thousands of hours thinking about this."

"I mean, man it's so crazy. It's by far the biggest moment of my life," he said. "It defines everything, all the hours I put in, everything that my coach has been working for."

"I dream about it like a maniac, I tell you. I sleep all night on it," Warholm said. "I spend all my time thinking about this, so just getting this last medal into my collection, it's complete."

Rai Benjamin, Karsten Warholm, Alison dos Santos
Rai Benjamin, Karsten Warholm, Alison dos Santos

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Benjamin grew teary and told reporters he was "just full of emotion. I got a medal, but it just hurts to lose."

In the victory glow of his performance, Warholm still felt a little competitive, too.

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Of Benjamin saying he had made a slip-up on the fourth hurdle, Warholm responded, "Big respect to him, and if that mistake has cost him the gold medal, he shouldn't have done it in the Olympics."

Benjamin clarified, however, that theirs is not a personal rivalry. "I feel like the media sometimes tries to pin me against him, but it's not really like that at all," he told reporters. "I mean, he's a really cool guy. We just want to go out there and have fun and run fast times."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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