It’s happened again.
For the second day in a row, an Olympic 400 meters hurdles final was a tightly contested race — with two athletes breaking what was the previous world record in the event and the third-place finisher running the fourth-fastest time ever.
This time it came in the women’s race.
Americans Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad entered the final as favorites to win gold. McLaughlin had set the previous world record in June with a time of 51.90 seconds. On Wednesday morning in Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, she and Muhammed both topped it.
McLaughlin finished nearly a half-second faster, taking gold with a run of 51.46 seconds. Muhammad, who won this event at Rio 2016, took silver in a time of 51.58.
“What a great race,” McLaughlin said. “I’m just grateful to be out here celebrating that extraordinary race and representing my country.”
Femke Bol of the Netherlands finished in 52.03 seconds to win bronze. Bol’s time was the fourth-fastest run in this event ever.
Surprising similarities: The men’s 400 meters hurdles played out almost identically on Tuesday. Norway’s Karsten Warholm held the world record heading into the race. Both he and second-place finisher Rai Benjamin beat Warholm’s previous record to win gold and silver, respectively, just like McLaughlin and Muhammad.
“I can’t really (get) it straight in my head yet. I’m sure I’ll process it and celebrate later,” McLaughlin said after the women’s race.
Bronze medalist Alison dos Santos of Brazil ran the fourth-fastest time in history in the men’s event to win bronze — just like Bol.