Welcome to the World Champs 2023 Preview, Day 10.
For 35 more days, RunBlogRun will be posting a story a day on the buildup to the World Athletics Outdoor Championships, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19-August 27, 2023.
In this series, we want to help you discover more about Budapest, Hungary, and the athletes you admire.
Tonight, we will discuss one of Norway’s superstars, a star in Europe, and one of the world’s most popular athletes!
I have to admit that I love Karsten Warholm’s approach to the 400-meter hurdles. Working closely with his coach, Leif Olav Alnes, Karsten Warholm has continues to improve over the 400-meter hurdles. Beginning as a multi-event athlete, Karsten has built his agility over the hurdles and his speed over the 400-meter flat; Warholm has used a long-term plan and focus to become the world record holder at the 400-meter hurdles, as well as Olympic, World, and European champion.
This is his story.
Karsten Warholm began as a multi-event athlete while dabbling in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. In 2013, Karsten Warholm impressed many with 8 gold medals in the Norwegian Youth Indoor Championships. At the Bislett Games in June 2013, Warholm took 7th in his heat in the 200 meters in 22.5. In July 2013, Karsten Warholm continued to impress, winning the 2013 World Youth Championships, taking gold in the boy’s octathlon in a 6,451 PB.
The incredibly strong Norwegian competed in the decathlon in 2014, as well as the long jump, hurdles, and 400 meters. In June 2014, Warholm ran 46.31, setting a Norwegian Junior NR for the 400 meters.
Karsten loved the decathlon and individual events. He continued this focus in 2015, with a silver medal in the 400 meters in the 2015 European Junior Championships, with a time of 46.50, second only to Benjamin Lobo Vedel, who ran 46.48. Warholm also took a second silver, a 7,764 score in the decathlon, a PB.
In the 2016 European Championships, Karsten Warholm made it to the semi-final in the 400-meter hurdles, running a new NR of 48.84. Karsten made the final, taking sixth in 49.82. The young Norwegian made it to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, making the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles.
Karsten Warholm came onto the world scene in 2017, taking gold in the European U23 Championships in the 400m hurdles, running a CR of 48.37 seconds. Karsten did an unusual double, taking silver in the 400 meters flat in 45.75. In the cold and rain in London, Karsten Warholm totally dominated the final, upsetting the field with a time of 48.35. Warholm finished 2017 with a new PB and a win at the Weltklasse Zurich two weeks later, in 48.22!
The European Outdoor Championships were held in Berlin, Germany, in 2018, regarded as one of the finest European Champs ever. Karsten Warholm won the 400-meter hurdles in NR of 46.74, a new European U23 record!
Remember how much Karsten Warholm loved the 400-meter flat and 400-meter hurdles? Well, in 2019, Warholm won the 400 meters in the European Athletics Indoors in Glasgow, Scotland, running 45.05, which equaled the European record set by the amazing Thomas Schonlebe way back in 1988. 2019 continued to be a fascinating year in the 400m hurdles. At the famous Bislett Games in June 2019, Karsten Warholm hurdled a phenomenal 400m hurdles, running an NR of 47.33. July was even faster; Karsten Warholm dropped the WL to 47.12, a new WL and European record, at the Muller Anniversary Games in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic stadium. August was even faster, as Karsten Warholm set a new European record of 46.92 at the Weltklasse Zurich. Karsten Warholm became the 3rd person to break 47 seconds. In that race, two men went under 47 seconds, with Rai Benjamin just behind Karsten Warholm, with Benjamin running 46.98. In the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, Karsten Warholm defended his title from 2017 with a fine time of 47.42. Rai Benjamin took the silver, and Abderahaman Samba, of Qatar, took the bronze.
The pandemic hit the world hard in early 2020. During the indoor season, Karsten Warholm ran 45.97.
Somehow, the sport found ways to keep some athletic meetings going. On June 11, 2020, Karsten Warholm ran the 300-meter hurdles in 33.78, a world best, improving on the WB of Chris Rawlinson, who ran the seldom-run distance in 34.48 in 2002!
The Olympics of 2020 was postponed, but some events were still held, and the performances were exciting. On 23 August 2020, in Stockholm, Sweden, Karsten Warholm nearly hit the WR of Kevin Young from 1992 (46.78) with his 46.87. With his 46.87, Karsten Warholm became the first person to break 47 seconds for the hurdles more than once!
Much of the global track media started predicting Kevin Young’s WR would be quickly broken.
It did not happen for just about eleven months. On 1 July 2021, running at the Bislett Stadium, the Norwegian Karsten Warholm finally broke the 400-meter hurdle world record held by Kevin Young. Warholm ran 46.70!
The Olympic final for the 400-meter hurdles, in Tokyo 2021, on 3 August 2021. In the final, Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin were almost equal at the ninth hurdle, when, Warholm willed himself ahead, and Rai Benjamin tried, with all of his might, to hold on. Karsten Warholm demolished the world record, running 45.94, the first man under 46 seconds, with Rai Benjamin taking silver in 46.12 AR and Alison do Santos in 46.72! The margin by which Norway’s Warholm broke the WR was 0.76 seconds! Warholm became the first European to win the Olympic Games at 400m hurdles since 1980 when Volker Beck won the gold.
Many in the media said that the 400-meter hurdles final in Tokyo was one of the finest Olympic moments in track & field in any Olympic Games.
In June 2022, as Warholm began his plan to have a three-peat at the 400-meter hurdles, he injured himself in the Diamond League in Rabat. Try as he might, Karsten was not his full self in Eugene, Oregon, for the 2022 World Outdoor Athletics Championships. Each round, all eyes were on Warholm as he willed himself from the first round. After round 1, Karsten Warholm said, “ I felt things were under control, had a steady race. There is no pain, so that is a good sign; I did everything I wanted. I was here in 2014 (World U20 Championships) and am glad to be here. In sports, I have learned to never say never. For now, it feels good.”
In the semi-final, Karsten Warholm ran his best race since the injury in June and made it to the final. Karsten Warholm charged out hard in the final, gave it all he had that day and finished in 7th in 48.42. Of the final, Warholm told the media, “ It was a very tough race. I had an injury, but it is always your fight, giving your all and leaving it all on the track. I felt I did that…I will always give them a fight, which is what I live for.”
One month later, Karston Warholm was whole. At the 2022 European Athletics Outdoor Championships in Munich, Germany, the Norwegian star defended his 2018 title from Berlin, running a smart 47.12, a new championship record.
Karsten Warhold of Norway barely defended his 400m indoor title at the 2023 European Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, with his swift 45.35. He has not yet run a 400m hurdle race in 2023, but we should not have two wait much longer.
Rai Benjamin of the US has run 47.74 WL at the 400-meter hurdles and 44.21 for the 400-meter flat.
Karsten Warholm will be ready for Budapest, Hungary, in August, and so will Rai Benjamin. That will be a race to behold!
Mark my word, Karsten Warholm will be exciting to see in Budapest in August, and you could witness history!
To read all of our earlier stories in Witness the Wonder, numbers 1-9:
1. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 1; Welcome to the World Champs! https://runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-1-welcome-to-the-world-champs.html
2. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 2, Meeting the Stars of Hungarian Athletics! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-2-meeting-the-stars-of-hungarian-athletics.html
3. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 3, Why you should go to Budapest! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-3.html
4. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 4, Mondo Duplantis & Nafi Thiam are Europe’s finest; how will they do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-3-mondo-duplantis-nafi-thiam-are-europes-finest-how-will-they-do-in-budapest.html
5. Witness the Wonder, World Championships Budapest 2023, Day 5, Just What Will Faith Kipyegon Do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-championships-budapest-2023-day-5-just-what-will-faith-kipyegon-do-in-budapest.html
6. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 6, Mutaz Essa Barshim. Will he take a 4th straight title in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-mutaz-essa-barshim-will-he-take-a-4th-straight-title-in-budapest.html
7. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Outdoor Champs Budapest 2023, Day 7, Noah Lyles wants to burn up the track in Budapest in August! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-outdoor-champs-budapest-2023-noah-lyles-wants-to-burn-up-the-track-in-budapest-in-august.html
8. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 8, all About the National Athletics Center https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-8-all-about-the-national-athletics-center.html
9. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 9: Meet Anita Marton, Hungarian star shot putter, who has deadly last-round throws! What will she do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-9-meet-anita-marton-hungarian-star-shot-putter-who-has-deadly-last-round-throws-what-will-she-do-in-budapest.html
The World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, will be held August 19-27, 2023, and tickets are available now! Click here to learn more about ticket sales: https://tickets.wabudapest23.com/
To learn more about the stars of Hungarian athletics, please enjoy this article: https://www.worldathletics.org/competitions/world-athletics-championships/budapest23/news/news/past-heroes-of-hungarian-athletics-and-future-talents-of-the-world-championships
Your favorite writer suggests a wonderful book on Hungary, The Hungarians, A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat, by Paul Lendvai, Translated by Ann Major, Princeton University Press, www.pupress.princeton.edu.
To read our story on the 2021 Olympic final at the 400 meter hurdles, please click here: https://www.runblogrun.com/2021/08/karsten-warholm-destroys-wr-in-400m-hurdles-with-his-4594-leads-3-under-wr-rai-benjamin-4617-alison.html