Wayde Van Niekerk Record Breaking Gold
Wayde Van Niekerk Record Breaking Gold: Wayde van Niekerk pulled off one of the most spectacular pieces of sprinting in history on Sunday night, breaking Michael Johnson’s long-standing 400m world record to win the Olympic title in breathtaking fashion. Johnson’s record of 43.18 had remained unchallenged for 17 years, with Van Niekerk the only man outside of the United States to come within half a second of it. Already the only man in history to run sub-10 seconds over 100m, sub-20 seconds over 200m and sub-44 seconds over 400m, victory for Van Niekerk caps an incredible rise to the top of international sprinting since he finished second at the Commonwealth Games two years ago. James set off fast at the start of the race, but Van Niekerk, in lane eight, powered around the final bend to beat his previous personal best by 0.45 and win his first Olympic medal.
Van Niekerk was still trackside doing interviews when Usain Bolt won 100m gold half an hour later, and revealed the Jamaican had predicted his success. “Usain has been such a huge rock, inspiring me as an athlete. He told me back in Jamaica that ‘you will break the world record’. And he came to me after and said ‘I told you you could do it’.” Van Niekerk is trained by Ans Botha, a 74-year-old great-grandmother who has been coaching track and field since the 1960s. Earlier this year, he ran 100m in 9.98 seconds to become the first athlete to run under 10 seconds for the 100m, 20 seconds for the 200m and 44 seconds for 400m.