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"The best race in Olympic history": Karsten Warholm smashes world record in 400-meter hurdles

Three men, three countries and 46 seconds. That's all it took Tuesday morning in Tokyo for the men's 400-meter hurdles final to set the Olympics ablaze.

What happened: Norway's Karsten Warholm, just one month removed from breaking a 29-year-old world record, rewrote history with one of the most jaw-dropping races in human history.

  • Warholm won gold with a mind-boggling time of 45.94 seconds, obliterating his month-old record (46.70). He ran faster than 18 of the 48 men who raced in the regular 400-meter dash (!!!).
  • American Rai Benjamin won silver, with his 46.17 besting the previous world record by more than half a second.
  • Brazil's Alison dos Santos won bronze and ran the fourth-fastest time ever recorded (46.72).
  • Watch the race.

What they're saying: "That was the best race in Olympic history. I don't even think Usain Bolt's 9.5 topped that," said Benjamin.

Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

The big picture: The men's 100-meter final has been a marquee event for nearly a century; its champions some of the Games' biggest stars.

  • None of those stars shined brighter than Bolt, and in his first absence since 2004 — despite a phenomenal race by Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs — the 100 lacked its typical electricity and buzz.
  • That left the door open for another event to fill the void, and the 400-meter hurdles delivered. Warholm is 25, Benjamin is 24 and Dos Santos is 21. Will they run it back in Paris?

Coming up: Tonight's women's 400-meter hurdles (10:30pm ET) features some serious American firepower.

  • Dalilah Muhammad, 31, is the reigning Olympic champion. In 2019, she broke a 16-year-old world record; two months later, she broke it again.
  • Sydney McLaughlin, 21, broke Muhammad's record in June at trials, overtaking the veteran down the final straightaway.

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