All Hail Wayde van Niekerk, new World Record Holder in the 400m.
Before tonight, just one American runner held a world record in any of the ten events in The Running Decathlon. Michael Johnson ran a 43.18 400m in Seville, Spain, in the World Championships in 1999. And before tonight, all ten of the world records had been set in Europe.
That all changed as Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa set the world record in the 400m, with a 43.03 run in the finals of the Rio Olympic Games. He broke Johnson’s mark by .15 seconds and became just the second man, along with David Rudisha (800m), to currently hold a world record in The Running Decathlon event that was set on the grand stage of the Olympic Games.
It was an epic performance and, also, all hail to his 74-year-old coach, Ans Botha. It was meant to be.
So now the quest for The Running Decathlon, running the top ten races half as fast as the world records in each, takes a turn.