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August 4, 2021

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Records tumble in athletics

Elaine Thompson-Herah sealed a second straight sprint double, Karsten Warholm won the 400-meter hurdles with an astonishing world record and American teenager Mu Athing crushed the 800 meters on an incredible day of Olympic athletics yesterday.

Jamaican Thompson-Herah was in total control of the 200 final, roaring home in a 21.53 seconds, the second fastest time in history, to follow up her 100 triumph having also won both events in 2016.

“It feels amazing to win two golds again. I have had a rough week. I haven’t slept after the 100 final,” she told reporters. “Honestly, I am so tired, my legs just need some rest. I’ve done so many races in the last few days, but I am very grateful.”

Brilliant as Thompson-Herah was, it was what was going on behind her that really raised eyebrows as 18-year-old Christine Mboma of Namibia produced an astonishing final 30 meters to make up four places and take silver in 21.81.

Gabby Thomas of United States took the bronze, edging out 100 silver medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Athing led from before the bell for a dominant victory in an American record 1:55.21 and Briton Keely Hodgkinson, like Athing 19 years old, also claimed a national record of 1:55.88 to take the silver medal in the 800.

Any concerns that holding some finals in the morning would detract from their intensity were blown away by one of the all-time great Olympic races.

A world record had been widely expected in the 400 hurdles but Norwegian Warholm absolutely destroyed his own mark of 46.70 seconds with a scarcely comprehensible 45.94 run.

American Rai Benjamin was left wondering how he took half a second off the world record himself but ended up with a silver in a race where six of the top seven set national or continental records.


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