Karsten Warholm crossed over the finish line for the men's Olympic 400 meter hurdles final. He also registered the numbers on the stadium clock. His face was filled with exhaustion, elation, and disbelief.
As he beat Rai Benjamin from the USA and broke his own world record by over half a second, the Norwegian's time in Tokyo of 45.94 seconds on Tuesday will likely change perceptions about what's possible in this event.
This was the Olympic final in the 400m hurdles for men, a great event. Benjamin's silver time of 46.17 seconds would have easily broken Warholm's July record, while Alison Dos Santos from Brazil was only 0.72 behind.
Benjamin later remarked, "That was probably the greatest race in Olympic history... everybody in this event should get paid big bucks,"
Warholm is now the Olympic medal holder and has been the forerunner since 2017, when he won the world championship title. After crossing the finish line, he jumped ahead of Benjamin and cut a large hole in the middle of his sprint suit.
Warholm stated to reporters that the lactic acid was "just crazy", and that he couldn't feel his legs.
"I was just running to the finish line because I didn’t take anything for granted today. Rai running 46.17 is amazing.
Although he was at the 200-meter mark, the race was not won. Benjamin gradually gained ground in the inside lane.
Although the pair were almost level at the last hurdle, Warholm managed to summon an extra ounce energy to win the gold.
Warholm said, "I ran kind of scared, but that is something that I always do." "I knew that I would be on the side dos Santos/Samba with my fast opening. This was very early in the race.
"That was my tactic today. I believe I won on tactics. I tried my hardest to get the men with me, but I was unsuccessful. After that I ran for my life. That gold medal would have made my life a lot easier.
Kevin Young's 400m hurdles record from 1992 Olympics stood for almost three decades until Warholm broke it last month -- a barrier that the 25-year old previously compared to the race to get man on the moon.
The Olympic final changed the definition of discipline.
The podium's three fastest 400m hurdlers can be claimed by the trio. Samba finished fifth in the final behind Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands.