Wayde van Niekirk not only shattered the 400-meter record, he also accomplished something most top sprinters wouldn't even attempt

South Africa’s Wayde van Niekirk absolutely smashed Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record in the 400 meters at the Rio Olympics, running an astonishing 43.03 seconds, shaving .15 seconds off the previous record.

But van Niekirk’s accomplishment goes beyond that. ESPN shared some data that highlights just how good of an all-around runner van Niekirk is. He is now the only runner in history to break 10 seconds in the 100 meters, 20 seconds in the 200 meters, and 44 seconds in the 400.

Each of these races require a slightly different type of running ability in order to compete at a high level. 

Johnson, who had his 400 record broken by van Niekirk, is arguably the greatest 200/400 runner ever. But despite his speed, he did not even compete in the 100 because the style is so different.

In the video below, Johnson talks about how he perfected his style (upright, short strides), something that is almost exactly the opposite of what sprinters in the 100 try to accomplish (often leaning forward, with long strides).

 

So the fact that van Niekirk is this highly accomplished in all three events is extremely impressive.

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