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Karsten Warholm
2017-BG Warholm 05.jpg
Warholm at the 2017 Bislett Games
Personal information
Nationality Norwegian
Born 28 February 1996 (1996-02-28) (age 25)
Ulsteinvik, Møre og Romsdal, Norway
Height 1.87 m
Weight 80 kg
Country Norway
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Hurdling, sprinting
Club Dimna IL
Coached by Leif Olav Alnes
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)
  • 400 m hurdles: 45.94 WR and OR (2021)
  • 400 m: 45.05 i ER (2019)
  • 400 m: 44.87 NR (2017)

Karsten Warholm (born 28 February 1996) is a Norwegian athlete and Olympic champion who competes in the sprints and hurdles. In July 2021, he broke the 29-year-old world record in 400 metres hurdles. The following month at the 2020 Summer Olympics, he won the gold medal in the 400 metres hurdles with a time of 45.94 seconds, breaking his own world record by over three-quarters of a second. The race has been described by many as one of the greatest in Olympic history due to the records set and the high class field of competitors. Warholm has also won gold in the event at the World Championships in 2017 and 2019, as well as the 2018 European Championships.


Early career

In March 2013, Warholm won eight gold medals in the Norwegian Youth Indoors Championships. In June at the 2013 Bislett Games, he competed in the 200 m. He finished seventh in his heat with a time of 22.25 s. Usain Bolt won a different heat at the same meet with a time of 19.79 s. At the 2013 World Youth Championships in July, he won gold in the boys' octathlon with 6451 points, a personal best.

In 2014, Warholm competed in the decathlon as well as in specialised events. At the time, his possible future specialization were the long jump, hurdling and 400 metres. His weakest performances in the decathlon were in the throwing events.

In June 2014, Warholm set a Norwegian junior record in the 400 m with a time of 46.31 s.

In July 2015, he won silver in the 400 m at the 2015 European Junior Championships with a time of 46.50 s, 0.02 s behind Benjamin Lobo Vedel. He also won silver in the decathlon with 7764 points, a personal best.

In July 2016, while participating in the semi-final of the 400 m hurdles at the 2016 European Championships, he broke the Norwegian national record with a time of 48.84 s. He then finished sixth in the final, with a time of 49.82 s. In August, he made it to the semi-finals in the 400 m hurdles at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

World champion title

In July 2017, he won gold in the 400 m hurdles at the 2017 European U23 Championships, setting a championship record of 48.37 s. He also won silver in the 400 m with a time of 45.75 s. In August, he won gold in the 400 m hurdles at the 2017 World Championships with a time of 48.35 s. Two weeks after his success at the World Championships, he improved upon his own Norwegian record in the 400 m hurdles with a time of 48.22 s at the 2017 Weltklasse Zürich.

At the 2018 European Championships Warholm won the gold medal in the 400 metres hurdles event with a time of 47.64 s, setting his new personal best and the new European U23 record.

In March, Warholm won gold in the 400 m at the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships. His time of 45.05 s equalled the European record set by Thomas Schönlebe in 1988. In June, at the Oslo Bislett Games he broke the European men's 400 m hurdles record with a time of 47.33. At the Müller Anniversary Games in July, Warholm improved on his 400 m hurdles time, taking it to 47.12 s. At Weltklasse Zurich in August, Warholm set a new European record in the 400 m hurdles, with a time of 46.92, making him the third person to run under 47 seconds for the distance. He was chased to the finish line by Rai Benjamin, who became the fourth person to break 47 seconds, with a time of 46.98. At the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, he won the 400 m hurdles in a time of 47.42 seconds, retaining his championship from 2017.

On 11 June, Warholm competed in the Impossible Games in Bislett Stadion (Oslo, Norway). He ran the 300 metres hurdles with a world best time of 33.78, besting Chris Rawlinson's time of 34.48 set in 2002. He also ran 400 meters indoors with a time of 45.97. On 23 August in Stockholm, Warholm ran a personal best of 46.87, narrowly missing Kevin Young's world record of 46.78. With this performance, Warholm became the first person to break 47 seconds twice.

World records and Olympic title

On 1 July 2021, in his first race of the season at Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Warholm broke Kevin Young's 1992 world record with a time of 46.70 s.

Warholm later broke his own record by 0.76 seconds in the 2020 Olympic Games, winning gold in a new world record of 45.94 s, an 1.6% decrease from the previous record. Warholm's time, the first sub-46 s time for the 400m hurdles, was faster than 18 runners in the men's 400m without hurdles.

The silver medalist in the final, Rai Benjamin, also beat the old record, with a time of 46.17 s. Warholm broke the old record without using the new "super spikes" worn by many of his competitors. One biomechanics expert suggests the spikes could increase performance by 1–1.5%.

Career statistics

Personal bests

Surface Event Time Date Location Notes
Outdoor 100 m 10.52 28 May 2016 Lillestrøm, Norway
200 m 21.09
21.00 w
4 June 2016
12 June 2015
Florø, Norway
Bærum, Norway

300 m 32.69 22 August 2018 Bergen, Norway NB
400 m 44.87 10 June 2017 Florø, Norway NR
300 m hurdles 33.26 4 June 2021 Oslo, Norway WR
400 m hurdles 45.94 3 August 2021 Tokyo, Japan WR
Indoor 60 m 6.75 28 January 2017 Florø, Norway
100 m 10.49 28 January 2017 Florø, Norway
200 m 20.91 5 February 2017 Ulsteinvik, Norway
400 m 45.05 2 March 2019 Glasgow, Scotland ER

International championship results

Year Championship Position Event Time/
Venue Notes
Representing  Norway and Europe Europe (Continental Cup only)
2013 World Youth Championships 1st Octathlon 6451 Donetsk, Ukraine
15th Medley relay 1:56.92
2014 World Junior Championships 10th Decathlon 7551 Eugene, Oregon, U.S.
11th 4×100 m relay 40.62
European Championships 31st 400 m 46.73 Zürich, Switzerland
2015 European Team Championships 11th 4×400 m relay 3:10.65 Cheboksary, Russia
European Junior Championships 2nd 400 m 46.50 Eskilstuna, Sweden
2nd Decathlon 7764
2016 European Championships 6th 400 m hurdles 49.82 Amsterdam, Netherlands
16th 4×400 m relay 3:10.76
Olympic Games 10th 400 m hurdles 48.81 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2017 European U23 Championships 2nd 400 m 45.75 Bydgoszcz, Poland
1st 400 m hurdles 48.37 Bydgoszcz, Poland
World Championships 1st 400 m hurdles 48.35 London, England
2018 European Championships 1st 400 m hurdles 47.64 Berlin, Germany
8th 400 m 46.68
Continental Cup 3rd 400 m hurdles 48.56 Ostrava, Czech Republic
2019 European Indoor Championships 1st 400 m 45.05 Glasgow, Scotland
World Championships 1st 400 m hurdles 47.42 Doha, Qatar
2021 Olympic Games 1st 400 m hurdles 45.94 Tokyo, Japan WR

Circuit wins

  • Diamond League (400 m hurdles; Other events specified in parenthesis)
    • Overall winner: 2019
    • Oslo: 2017, 2019, 2021
    • Stockholm: 2017, 2019, 2020 (400 m & 400 m hurdles)
    • London: 2018, 2019
    • Paris: 2019
    • Zürich: 2019
    • Monaco: 2020
    • Rome: 2020

Personal life

Warholm was born in the town of Ulsteinvik on Norway's western coast.

Warholm is in a relationship with girlfriend Oda Djupvik. He enjoys fishing, cars, and building Lego.

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