The 400m hurdles are one of the toughest events in our sport. And the gold medalists who have taken this event, male and female are some of the finest athletes in all of sports. The 400m hurdles requires speed and endurance, and focus, oh, and a tremendously high ability to challenge oneself.
On July 1, 2021, Karsten Warholm set a new world record in the 400m hurdles, by focusing on the ten hurdles and one full lap of the track at the Oslo Bislett Games. In front of his countrymen and women, Warholm showed that he is an amazing global talent, as if we did not know that before.
Here’s my 4 deep thoughts on Karsten Warholm:
1. Karsten Warholm’s background in multi-events, then the 400m gives him a huge advantage in running the 400m hurdles. Karsten’s core strength and speed are impressive. His ability to race over the 400m and 400m hurdles make him an amazingly versatile athlete. The years of multi-events have build up his overall strength and his time with the 400 meters also gave him impressive speed.
2. The Coach / Athlete relationship is key, and Karsten Warholm and Leif Olav Alnes are a strong match. Coaching is both art and science. In this case, Karsten had to sell Leif on taking on his cause, ad Coach Alnes was considering retirement. The piece in Spikesmag, from 2019, speaks in a jocular fashion, but much truth is right on the surface. Warholm and Alnes get each other. That is key.
3. Karsten Warholm is highly competitive. Warholm knows he has competitors in this magical event. Rai Benjamin just ran 46.84. Alda Dos Santos just ran 47.34. He has to be on the top of his game always. He seems to thrive on that. And we shall see how fit they all are in Tokyo in less than one month!
Of his competition, he told the media in Oslo:
“It might take another world record to win the Olympics. There rare such a lot f great guys out there at the moment who will all be aiming to do it and win Gold. I am happy that there is such great competition.”
4. Karsten Warholm knows there is always room for improvement. This was his first race at 400m hurdles in 2021! Karsten is preparing for a long season.
He spoke about that in his chat with media in the mixed zone in Oslo:
I knew that I had a fast time in my body – it feels like it has been there for a long time but you never know when it is right to do it. And it is another thing to on have it in you and another to go out and do it.
It is very special to do it here in Bislett in front of a great crowd including my friends and family. This is my first 400m hurdles of the season so i really think there is more in the tank.”