December 4, 2021, 17:17

Why the 400m hurdles is one of the hardest Olympic races

Why the 400m hurdles is one of the hardest Olympic races

There are few single events that demand as much skill as the 400-meter hurdle race. It’s not as simple as just running and jumping. Olympians need to have the speed of a 200-meter dash runner, the endurance of an 800-meter runner, an understanding of rhythm, and, of course, the ability to efficiently clear a hurdle.

Various techniques can make or break a race. For one, hurdlers don’t “jump” — they sprint right over the barrier. If you hurdle too high, you’re wasting time and energy; too low and you collide with a hurdle. Even if your technique over the hurdles is perfect, you can’t win if you don’t have the speed — but starting too fast could lead to burnout later in the race.

Former Olympic hurdler and (until very recently) world record-holder Kevin Young helps us break down the rhythm of the 400-meter hurdles.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube.

Correction: Karsten Warholm broke Kevin Young’s record at a Diamond League meet in Oslo, Norway on July 1 — not at the Olympic trials.


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