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World Records that were broken at the Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo, Japan

Elaine Thompson-Herah, of Jamaica, center, reacts after winning the women's 100-meter final at the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo on Saturday, on July 31, 2021. Thompson-Herah finished in 10.61 seconds, breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s Olympic record by a hundredth of a second in a time that made her the second-fastest woman in history.(Doug Mills/The New York Times)

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.

United States runners Sydney McLaughlin, far right, and Dalilah Muhammad, far left, cross the finish line in the women's 400-meter hurdles final at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Tokyo on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. McLaughlin broke her own world record to win her first Olympic gold. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

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.

Karsten Warholm, of Norway, center, celebrates his gold medal win in the final of the men's 400-meter hurdles at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Tokyo on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. Warholm broke the world record and won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

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)

Yang Qian of China after the women’s 10-meter air rifle on Saturday, July 24, 2021, earning the first gold medal of the Tokyo Games. (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

Sport Climbing

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)

Caeleb Dressel of the U.S. competes in the men’s 100 meter butterfly finals, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021. Dressel’s 49.45 time set a new world record. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

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)

Yulimar Rojas, of Venezuela, celebrates after winning the final of the women's triple jump at the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. Rojas became the first woman from Venezuela to win an Olympic gold medal. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)


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.

c.2021 The New York Times Company