Congratulations were pouring in for Norway’s track and field star Karsten Warholm Tuesday morning, after he broke his own world record at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo Monday night. His victory in the 400-meter hurdles was branded as both historic and spectacular.
“You are just fantastic Warholm,” gushed Prime Minister Erna Solberg on social media after his race at 5:20am Norwegian time. “Congratulations with Olympic Gold and a new fantastic world record. What a run!”
Lots of Norwegians dragged themselves out of bed to follow the action live, not least in Warholm’s home town of Ulsteinvik on Norway’s west coast. Local fans turned out to watch the action in a local gym, waving flags and hugging one another, presumably all of whom have been vaccinated. His family can be seen at the end of state broadcaster NRK’s video of the event (external link), hugging one another after Warholm, according to his mother Kristine Haddal, “exceeded everything we could dream about” by not only winning gold but setting yet another world record.
“It was nerve-wracking,” she told NRK, adding that she “managed to sit still for the first 200 meters but then it was difficult to sit still.” Even she was amazed that her son won by “such a good margin. We’re seeing some unbelievable times today.”
Norwegian commentators dubbed Warholm as both “a phenomenon” and as “a human miracle” after he made Olympic history with a winning time of 45.94 seconds, the first time ever the 400-meter hurdles has been run under 46 seconds. He broke his own world record, set earlier this summer at the Bislett Games in Oslo with a finish time of 46.70. Both Warholm and the US’ Rai Benjamin broke that at the Summer Olympics, with Benjamin winning silver with a time of 46.17. Bronze medal winner Alison dos Santos of Brazil had a time of 46.72.
Many noted how Warholm seemed to “shift into his own gear” in the final stretch of the race, pulling ahead of Benjamin to grab the gold. The often irreverent track star known for clowning around and donning plastic Viking horns after earlier victories, promptly ripped open his top and bellowed.
For more of NRK’s coverage and photos from the Discovery channel that has rights to this year’s Olympics, TV Norge, click here (external link).
He later told state broadcaster NRK that he realized he “probably was part of Olympic history,” not just Norway’s own Summer Olympic history in a country where skiers excel in the winter games but are often relegated to victories in summer sports that grab much less attention than track and field. Norway was in 22nd place in the Summer Olympics’ medal standings Tuesday morning with two gold medals (the other won by Kristian Blummenfelt from Bergen in the triathlon), one silver and one bronze.