Rai Benjamin Is Now A Nike Athlete

Almost exactly a month after revealing his intent to go pro, USC superstar and third-fastest 400m hurdler of all time Rai Benjamin announced he has partnered with Nike as his official sponsor.


Although Benjamin hasn't raced his marquee event since his jaw-dropping 47.02 run in the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships 400m hurdles final, he did compete twice on the Diamond League circuit in the 200m—in Paris, where he finished runner-up to former teammate Michael Norman in 19.99, and in Lausanne's Norman vs. Lyles 200m showdown, where he finished fourth in 20.16. For both occasions, he raced in his USC kit.  

We can only imagine Norman's pro sponsor announcement will be hot on his heels—after all, they're kind of known for being in sync.



Kevin Sully's original article from June 14, 2018, appears below:

Another Trojan is turning professional.

The Journal News reported on Wednesday that USC junior Rai Benjamin will not use his final season of collegiate eligibility and instead will begin his professional career this summer.

Benjamin turned in one of the top performances of the NCAA Championships when he ran 47.02 in the 400m hurdles last Friday. The time smashed the collegiate record and tied him for the second fastest mark all-time in the event. (Update: Since Abderrahman Samba's 46.98 performance on June 30, Benjamin's mark now ranks third all-time).

Later in the meet, Benjamin ran a leg on USC’s 4x400m relay that also broke the collegiate record. Michael Norman, who ran the fourth leg on that relay, announced on Saturday that he was turning professional after his sophomore season. 

After transferring from UCLA last year, Benjamin entered this track season and one of the favorites in the event. Yet he still surpassed expectations. 

Indoors, he ran the fastest split (44.35) of the entire meet in a historically deep 4x400m relay. His USC team won the race and was one of three teams in the race that ran faster than the existing world record. 

Outdoors, he broke 48 seconds for the first time at the West Preliminary meet, running an effortless 47.98. After the race, Benjamin said he had his eyes on sub 47-seconds. 

He almost pulled it off. 

In Eugene, Benjamin tore away from the field and won the race by over a second, running a mark that tied him with Edwin Moses for the second best time ever. It also put him in range of Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78—long considered one of the toughest men’s world records on the books. 

According to the Journal News, Benjamin will still take classes at USC and will be coached by the USC staff. He has not announced a sponsor. 

Despite his place among the all-time greats, his prospects for competing internationally are a bit complicated—at least for the time being. Though he is an American citizen, Benjamin competed for Antigua and Barbuda in international competition as a teenager. When the IAAF announced their freeze on transfers of allegiance, Benjamin was unable to complete the process to compete for the United States. 

After the West Preliminary meet, Benjamin said he was considering legal options in order become eligible for international competitions. He is entered in the 200m for next week's USA Championships. 

Geoffrey Kamworor Smashes Half Marathon WR With 58:01

Three-time half marathon world champion Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya is the new half marathon world record holder after the 26-year-old smashed the old mark by 17 seconds on Sunday with his 58:01 run in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A Perfect Storm: The Story Behind Woody Kincaid's Stunning 12:58

As an intimate crowd of familiar faces hovered around the Michael Johnson Track on Nike’s campus in Beaverton, Oregon, on Tuesday night, Woody Kincaid faced an ultimatum. 

Former NCAA 800m Champ Emmanuel Korir To Attempt 400m/800m Double

Today Kenya announced their World Championship team for Doha later this month. One notable highlight was the selection of former NCAA 800m champion Emmanuel Korir in the 400m dash. Korir qualified for the 800m team after finishing second at the Kenyan trials, he was also selected to the 400m team due to his 44.55 performance at Kenya’s African Games trials back in June.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Will A World Record Be Broken At The World Championships?

Last month, Lincoln diagnosed the chase for world records across track and field. In his post, he argued that there was least a semblance of a chance for broken records in 11 different events. Now, two weeks before the World Championships, I updated that forecast heading into the final meet of the season. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

2019 FloTrack TV Guide

Searching for that perfect post-long-run-and-chill content? 

Christian Coleman Responds To USADA Dropping Case: 'I Think It's A Shame'

Christian Coleman spoke publicly for the first time since the U.S. Anti Doping Agency dropped their case against the sprint star last week. 

Bowerman Trio Of Kincaid, Lomong And Centro Torch U.S. 5K Record Book

A trio of Bowerman Track Club athletes on Tuesday collaborated on one of the greatest 5,000m races in American history, as Woody Kincaid (12:58.10), Lopez Lomong (13:00.13) and Matthew Centrowitz (13:00.39) each joined the top 10 all-time U.S. list.

The Diamond League's 10 Richest Athletes Of 2019

The 2019 IAAF Diamond League season wrapped up last Friday in Brussels with the second of two finals awarding 16 more athletes the title of Diamond League champion. The Zurich meeting on Aug. 29 took care of the first 16 events.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Vin Lananna Hired As Virginia Director Of Track And Field And Cross Country

One of the most recognizable coaches and administrators in American track and field is heading east to take on his latest project: Vin Lananna, the former head coach at Oregon, president of TrackTown USA and USATF, among other titles, was announced on Monday as the new director of track and field and cross country/associate athletics director for administration at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Sifan Hassan's World Championships Choice Could Define Her Career

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

In sweeping the 1500m and 5,000m Diamond League titles in 2019, the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan, the queen of range, is finally starting to reap the rewards of her one-of-a-kind skill set. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In