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It’s only April 20, but already 21-year-old Michael Norman has put the 400m world record on notice:
Michael Norman 400m season opener ✅— FloTrack (@FloTrack) April 20, 2019
#4 all-time ✅ pic.twitter.com/TfThYhWruw
Norman, making his 2019 debut, ran 43.45 in the 400m at the Mt. SAC Relays on Saturday, the sixth-fastest performance ever and the quickest season debut by any man in history. The time slots Norman fourth on the all-time list behind just Wayde van Niekerk, Michael Johnson and Butch Reynolds.
All-Time 400m Performers (Courtesy All-Time Athletics)
1. 43.03 Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) 8/14/2016
2. 43.18 Michael Johnson (USA) 8/26/1999
3. 43.29 Butch Reynolds (USA) 8/17/1988
4. 43.39 Michael Johnson (USA) 8/09/1995
5. 43.44 Michael Johnson (USA) 6/19/1996
6. 43.45 Jeremy Wariner (USA) 8/31/2007
6. 43.45 Michael Norman (USA) 4/20/2019
The first-year pro tied former Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner’s PB, a mark that Wariner achieved as he won the gold medal at the 2007 World Championships. Think about that. Wariner was fully peaked for that race, and Norman still has over three months before USAs.
43.45 FOR MICHAEL NORMAN!!— Jon Mulkeen (@Statman_Jon) April 20, 2019
In his first race of the year.
That's the fastest 400m season opener by ANYONE in history!
Even for a man who last year demolished the collegiate record outdoors (43.61) and set the indoor 400m world record (44.52), this is a next level performance. Van Niekerk’s 43.03 may not be long for this world at this rate, as Norman quite literally has months of speed development left to fine tune his fitness.
You can’t make a bigger statement in April than Michael Norman just did on Saturday, and the rest of the 400m runners in the world— van Niekerk included— may just be fighting for silver by the time the World Championships arrive this fall.