As part of the World Track and Field Championships, Tobi Amusan of Nigeria broke the world record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles on Sunday afternoon in Eugene, Ore. To be fair, world records often fall during major sporting events.
Amusan’s record-breaking margin and the number of personal and national records established by participants in the race drew the most attention.
In Amusan’s semifinal heat, the racers who finished fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth all ran their fastest times ever. It was a great day for all four racers.
As a spectator, I was astounded to see Amusan’s timing on the stadium scoreboard: 12.12 seconds.
There were just 0.08 of a second difference between Amusan’s timing of 12.12 and the American Kendra Harrison’s previous record of 12.20 set in 2016. So, for example, the prior records were broken by 0.01, 0.04, 0.01, and 0.03 seconds in the four most recent world records in this competition.
For the first time since 1980, a record has been broken by such a big margin.
When the race started, there was a 0.924-meter-per-second tail wind, which was comfortably inside the permitted limit of 2.0 metres per second.
Do you think that all of the hurdlers ran such personal bests in unison on that day? The opinion of one expert was a little shaky at best.
the meet’s own social media pages characterised the timings as “unbelievable,” presumably without irony, by 200- and 400-meter great Michael Johnson while acting as a BBC television analyst on the worlds.
At least one runner, Cindy Sember of the United Kingdom, expressed concern about her pace, according to Johnson.
This year’s 110-meter hurdles competition was the only women’s event where there were no personal bests.
On Saturday, Amusan established a new personal best time of 12.40 seconds, which was 0.28 of a second quicker than her previous best mark. In such a short race, the improvement was mind-boggling in terms of its magnitude.
There were many of quick times in the women’s 100-meter semifinals, but not as many as in the first. The top five finishers in the second semifinal all ran or matched their personal bests. Two personal bests and three season bests were achieved in the third semi-final.
And it’s impossible to compare the quick semifinal timings to the final two hours later since the wind was at the runners’ backs, at 2.524 metres per second. However, despite Amusan’s 12.06-second gold-medal winning run, that time will not go down in history as a record since it was determined to be wind-aided.
Despite her shocking semifinal performance, there was no doubt that Amusan, 25, could win the title. She went on to win gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2021 Diamond League finals after winning the N.C.A.A. championship at Texas-El Paso. She finished fourth in the Olympic finals in Tokyo last year. Even Johnson acknowledged that he had expected her victory.
Amusan, the first Nigerian to win a gold medal at a World Championships, sparked a backlash on Twitter, with some accusing Johnson of prejudice against an African athlete who had broken an American record.
In the end, Johnson was able to deflect the charges of bias by writing: “As a commentator my role is to remark. I was assaulted, accused of racism, and accused of doubting the skill of an athlete I admire and projected to win for questioning the timing system’s accuracy. Unacceptable. “I’m moving on,” I respond.