New York Times Reporting by Cindy Yu and Talya Minsberg
World records are bound to fall at every Olympics, when the world’s greatest athletes compete on one stage and are pushed further and faster by advances in technology. Yet many also wondered whether swampy conditions in and around Tokyo — and the impact of a year’s delay — would hinder the expected monumental performances.
But athletes persevered and world records were shattered in a smattering of sports.
On the track, two Americans bested their own records in the 400-meter hurdles, looking up to the scoreboard in awe. Sydney McLaughlin set a world record, beating the one she set earlier this year. Dalilah Muhammad, the defending Olympic champion, ran the second-fastest time in history.
The men’s 400-meter hurdles was a similar story: Both Karsten Warholm of Norway and Rai Benjamin of the United States broke the world record. Warholm won the race, obliterating his own world record, which he also set this year.
Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela smashed a triple jump world record that had gone uncontested for more 26 years. In doing so, she became the first woman from Venezuela to win an Olympic gold medal.
Caeleb Dressel set two world records in the swimming pool: one in the 4x100-meter relay as part of the U.S. team and another in the individual 100-meter butterfly race. And weight lifter Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia set three world records, in both lifts and his total.
World records in track cycling were broken multiple times during these Olympics. In men’s team pursuit, a world record fell during the first round, and again during the finals. In the women’s team pursuit, the world record was broken three times in the same day, first in qualifying rounds, and twice in the first round of competition.
China is departing these Olympics with 88 medals and five world records across swimming, cycling, shooting and weightlifting events.
Here’s a look at all the world records set during the Tokyo Games:
(Event: Competitor / New Record / Previous)
Cycling — Track
Men’s Team Pursuit: Italy / 3:42.032 / 3:44.672 (2020)
Women’s Team Pursuit: Germany / 4:04.242 / 4:10.236 (2016)
Women’s Team Sprint: Bao S. and Zhong T. of China / 31.804 seconds / 32.034 (2015)
Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions Final: Zhang Changhong of China / 466.0 points / 465.3 points (2018)
Women’s Trap Qualification: Zuzana Rehak Stefecekova of Slovakia / 125 points / 123 points (2019)
Mixed Team 10m Air Rifle Qualification: Yang Q. and Yang H. of China / 633.2 points / 631.7 points (2020)
Women’s Speed: Aleksandra Miroslaw of Poland / 6.84 seconds / 6.96 seconds (2020)
Men’s 4×100m Medley Relay: United States / 3:26.78 / 3:27.28 (2009)
Mixed 4×100m Medley Relay: Britain 3:37.58 / 3:38.41 (2020)
Men’s 100m Butterfly: Caeleb Dressel of the United States / 49.45 seconds / 49.50 seconds (2019)
Women’s 200m Breaststroke: Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa / 2:18.95 / 2:19.11 (2013)
Women’s 4×200m Freestyle Relay: China / 7:40.33 / 7:41.50 (2019)
Women’s 4×100m Freestyle Relay: Australia / 3:29.69 / 3:30.05 (2018)
Track and Field
Women’s 400m Hurdles: Sydney McLaughlin of the United States / 51.46 seconds / 51.90 seconds (2021)
Men’s 400m Hurdles: Karsten Warholm of Norway / 45.94 seconds / 46.70 seconds (2021)
Women’s Triple Jump: Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela 15.67 meters ; 15.50 meters (1995)
Men’s over 240 lbs. (Total): Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia / 488 kilograms / 485 kg (2021)
Men’s over 240 lbs. (Clean and jerk): Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia / 265 kg / 264 kg (2019)
Men’s over 240 lbs. (Snatch): Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia / 223 kg / 222 kg (2021)
Men’s 161 lbs. (Total): Shi Zhiyong of China / 364 kg / 363 kg (2019)
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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