This is Sean MacPherson’s column for RunBlogRun on Day Five. Sean focused on the 400 meter hurdles final that happened on Day Five.
400m Hurdles Recap
Dos Santos Wins, Americans go 2-3 in Thrilling 400 Hurdles Final
By Sean MacPherson RunBlogRun
350 days after the Men’s 400-meter hurdles final in Tokyo produced one of the best races in history, the same cast of characters was back on the track for the final in the 2022 World Championships.
Brazilian Allison Dos Santos won gold in a championship record time of 46.29. Rai Benjamin defended his silver medal from Tokyo and took second in 46.89. American Trevor Bassitt closed hard to earn bronze, finishing with a time of 47.39.
Allison Dos Santos has been on a tear ever since his bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last season. The 22-year-old Brazilian owned the world leaders and hadn’t lost all season coming into this meet.
“I already knew that I was ready to come here and win the world championship,” said Dos Santos following the race. “That was not a surprise, and the time was not a surprise because I know I can run even faster than that.”
Rai Benjamin was disappointed after last year’s silver medal in Tokyo. The 24-year-old American ran a blistering time of 46.17, which smashed the old world record. Still, he couldn’t hang with Karsten Warholm, who outlasted Benjamin, running a historical time of 45.94. Benjamin came away from that race feeling defeated with the silver despite running the second fastest time ever and losing to an all-time performance by Warholm.
This time around, the former USC Trojan was at peace with the silver medal. Benjamin overcame Covid and hamstring tendonitis this season; he didn’t jump over a hurdle from May 13th to June 24th. The accomplishment that felt underwhelming to Benjamin last season felt like a huge win this time around due to his ongoing health issues in 2022.
“It’s just been a fight all season.” said Benjamin, “That was probably the hardest race I’ve ever run in my life.”
After the race, it took several moments to decide who earned third place in an extremely tight finish between Trevor Bassitt and France’s Wilfried Happio. As soon as Bassitt’s name flashed, Benjamin tackled Bassitt in the celebration that two Americans earned medals.
“I was more excited for Trevor’s medal than I was for mine, to be honest with you,” said Benjamin.
Trevor Bassitt’s journey to a bronze medal on the global stage is a true underdog story. Bassitt has always flown under the radar because of his Division II background at Ashland University.
Bassitt’s old coach, Jud Logan, passed away earlier this year after a fight with Leukemia. Bassitt tweeted out a photo earlier this week with a screenshot of text messages from August of 2021 in which Logan predicted to Bassitt that he would be in the final at these World Championships.
What seemed like a long shot at the time increasingly became less and less of inconceivable after a season that included a silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in Serbia. Bassitt not only manifested that belief from his late coach by making the final, but he one-upped it and earned a medal on what would have been Logan’s 63rd birthday.
“It means everything. I could feel that something special was going to happen today.” said Bassitt, “I just know that he was with me for that entire race.”
Karsten Warholm, the world record holder and defending Olympic Champion, went out hard but faded to 7th place in a time of 48.92. Warholm has been dealing with a hamstring tear this season and was racing for the first time in 2022 at these World Championships.