An astonishing world record begs the question: Was it so amazing?

Nigeria’s Toby Amosan set a world record in the women’s 100m hurdles Sunday at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

What surprised, however, was not the score but the margin by which Amosan broke the record, and the sheer number of personal and national records set by competitors in the event.

The 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th runners in the Amosan heat, in the semi-finals, had their best times ever. The other three contestants had their best times of the year.

even amusan He looked amazing When she saw her time – 12.12 seconds – on the stadium scoreboard.

Amosan’s time of 12.12 broke the old record of 12.20, held by American Kendra Harrison since 2016, by 0.08 of a second – a big drop in an event often decided by the best margins. The most recent four world records in this event, for example, broke the previous marks by 0.01, 0.04, 0.01 and 0.03 seconds.

The last time the record was lowered by such a large margin was in 1980.

The confluence of fleet times made some wonder if there was something wrong with the timing system, or even the anemometer, which at the start of the race showed tail winds of 0.924 meters per second, within the legal limit of 2.0.

Could all Obstacles have run such personal best races at the same time? At least one expert wasn’t sure.

Legendary Michael Johnson, who is 200 and 400 meters tall, who used to work in the world as a commentator on BBC television, led the charge of skepticism about the times, which the interview’s social media accounts described, apparently, as unexpected, “unbelievable. “

“I don’t think 100 hours is correct,” he wrote on Twitter. “World Record Breaker .08! Set of 12 PBs. 5 Set of National Records.”

Johnson noted that at least one of the runners, Cindy Semper of Britain, indicated that she felt like she was going slow. “All the athletes looked shocked,” Johnson added.

(In the men’s equivalent, 110-meter hurdles, there was only one best person in the semi-finals and one in the final.)

Amosan’s time was unusually fast even for her: 0.28 of a second faster than her previous best time of 12.40, which was set in Saturday’s qualifying. This improvement represents an impressive margin in such a short race.

The second and third semi-finals of the women’s 100m saw a lot of fast times, although not quite as fast as the first. In the second semi-final, the top five ran or equaled their best. The third semi-final notched a personal best two and a season three best.

Comparing the quick semi-final times to the last two hours is tricky, because the wind was on the backs of the runners for this race, at 2,524 meters per second. Amosan won the gold with a faster time – 12.06 seconds – but this mark would not be considered a record because it was considered wind-assisted.

While her semi-final time was astonishing, there was no doubt that Amosan, 25, was able to win the tournament. After taking the NCAA title in Texas-El Paso, she won the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2021 Diamond League Final. She placed fourth in the final at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Even Johnson indicated that he expected her to win.

But perhaps because her gold was Nigeria’s first at a world championships anyway, there was plenty of pushback on Twitter to Johnson’s skepticism, with some accusing him of bias against Amosan, the African athlete who broke the record held by the American.

After briefly mixing with many of critics Online, Johnson eventually dismissed the accusations of bias, writing: “As a commentator my job is to comment. When questioning the times of 28 athletes (not a single athlete) by questioning whether the timing system was broken, I was attacked, accused of racism, and questioning the talent of an athlete I respect.” I expected to win. Unacceptable. I’m on the move.”

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