In life nothing is constant, and so is the story in sport. There is only one uniform variable among the many and that is change. Over the years, we've seen Olympic records set, that one can only dream of, only for them to be broken in the following years. That is what makes us fall in love with the Olympics. Follow us as we take you on an Olympic record journey set by super-humans of the modern era.
1. KARSTEN WARHOLM - 400m HURDLES
Warholm was favourite to win this race, as he came into it as world record holder. In late June, he broke Kevin Young's 29-year old record to 46.70. But little did we know something much more extravagant was about to take place as this race concluded.
The day he set the world record, he sunk his face into his hands. This time round, there was no holding back. It was anything but a dream, no one would've imagine come true. The Norwegian drove through like wildfire raging in a forest to set an Olympic record of 45.94 seconds.
To some, this might just be seen as a number. But in athletics that is a whole three quarters of a second faster than any man had run the distance. ''Times you can only imagine, only dream of,'' shouted commentator Steve Cram as Warholm ripped apart his vest in celebration.
As part of this recent legacy, a lot of talk has revolved around the technology on and under athletes' feet, added to the Mondo track surface, tweaked and tuned for Tokyo that seems softer, bouncier, quicker than ever. Designers of the track at the Olympic Stadium have added rubber granules to the 14mm track, while the lower layer has a hexagonal design that leaves small pockets of air, giving the athletes a 1-2% performance advantage.
All in all, Warholm's spikes may not contain the resilient, responsive foam of others, but they are stiffened by a carbon plate that returns energy lost to older generations.
2. CAELEB DRESSEL - 50m FREESTYLE, 100m BUTTERFLY
Caeleb Dressel has confidently pulled up a chair, and found himself a seat next to Michael Phelps on the Olympic charts, after bagging 5 golds in swimming.
He not only smashed the Olympic record to win 50m freestyle, but the 100m butterfly too. In 50m, The American swimmer touched the wall in a time of 21.07, shaving 0.23 off the previous mark set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo in 2008. This win gave Dressel his fourth gold medal of the Olympic Games and the USA’s 27th in the pool.
Dressel said, "It means as lot. That was the first race [50m freestyle] to kick start my swim career, since I was a kid, so it has come full circle. I remember watching Manaudou win that in London, so it's crazy. I remember watching him on TV, so it's an honour to be able to race him and to get my hand on the wall first in such a stacked field with guys I have been watching as a kid, so it's fun. It's so surreal, the whole moment, I am just trying to take it in. The whole Tokyo 2020, the rings, being on the podium - I am trying to take everything in as much as I can.''
Dressel quickly moved to the front of the pool, despite not having the quickest reaction time. In a race that is usually decided by hundredths of a second, Dressel stormed to finish 0.48 seconds ahead of Manaudou, who gets silver, with a time of 21.55.
On the other hand, the battle for 100m Butterfly gold was expected to be between the American swimmer and Hungary’s Kristof Milak, and evidently the American prevailed. Caeleb Dressel also put on a dominant display as he swam to the 100m butterfly gold in a world record time of 49.45, shaving 0.05 seconds of his previous record. With there being no Rio medallists in the final, meant that there would be a new Olympic champion in the 100m butterfly.
He started this race with the fastest reaction time and was 0.65 seconds head of the pack by halfway stage. Dressel finished the final 0.23 seconds ahead of Milak to win his third gold medal of the Tokyo Games. Milak went on to clinch silver in a record 49.68 seconds, a time that was also lower than the previous world record and is a European record.
3. LI WENWEN - WOMEN'S WEIGHTLIFTING 87kg
Not many people get a chance to say that they've added an Olympic Title to their already impressive portfolio just at the age of 21. Li appeared to lift with ease 140kg in the snatch and 180kg in the clean and jerk, setting records in both. She claimed a third with her amassed score of 320 points, which was just outside her world record of 335.
In doing so, she showed the world she is a super-heavyweight powerhouse, as she collected gold and three olympic records in women's 87kg weightlifting. Before coming into the games, Wenwen wasn't to be ruled out. At just 19 she caused a major upset when she won the World Championships by beating Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina who was the then super-weight title holder.
The athlete's nearest rival in the competition was European champion, Great Britain’s Emily Campbell, who lifted 122 in the snatch and 161 in the clean and jerk, which gave her 283 points. The 27-year-old became the first British athlete to collect an Olympic medal in women's weightlifting.
After Li's final lift, she bolted to bring her coach on stage and they both did a bow at the Tokyo International Forum. Wenwen's gold medal was China's seventh in weightlifting at these Olympic Games, which equals the record number set by the Soviet Union in 1976.
4. ITALY'S MENS TRACK CYCLING
It was unfortunate for Great Britain as they were relegated to seventh and eighth, after a crash that involved the Danish team. It meant they ceded their Olympic pursuit title that they held since 2008. Setting up space for a new champion to emerge.
A nail-biting moment that had everyone on the edge of their seats saw Italy secure Olympic gold in style by breaking their own world record in the team pursuit to see off world champions Denmark at Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
It was the first time in 61 years Italy have secured gold in the event. The last time they were crowned Olympic champions was at Rome 1960 with their last time on the podium came at Mexico City 1968.
And so the story commences. The Danish team of Lasse Norman Hansen, Niklas Larsen, Frederick Madsen and Rasmus Pedersen took the lead at the 3000m mark, until this point they had narrowly been behind the Italians. But Italy's Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon and Jonathan Milan pedalled to the medal close the gap in the final two laps of the race. After breaking the world record during the heats, the Italian team clocked a blistering 3:42.032 in the gold medal race.
Lamon said, ''It's a great honour for us. Our group has worked very hard to achieve at the highest level and starting in 2016 we were really motivated by our coach.''
5. YULIMAR ROJAS - WOMEN'S TRIPLE JUMP
Only if spectators could be privileged to observe this astonishing spectacle that unraveled in the women's triple jump. Rojas' jump right from the runway, to take off, and finally the way she hit the sand seemed like an everlasting movie, beautifully orchestrated, and she knew she’d sealed her Olympic gold medal in the women’s triple jump with a world record. Yulimar broke the Olympic record in the first round of Sunday’s final at the Tokyo Games, signalling her intent.
She went through four more rounds before putting it all together perfectly with a mark of 15.67 meters on her last attempt, improving on the old mark of 15.50 to Ukrainian Inessa Kravets longstanding record set in 1995. After winning silver at Rio 16 this was a much-needed upgrade going into the Tokyo games, as a first Olympic gold for a Venezuelan female athlete was due.
''I knew. I already knew. I knew from the run. I knew I couldn’t miss that one. I knew it was right there,'' she said about her last jump. ''I didn’t even have to look. My head, my heart, my body. I was also listening: people went ‘wow.’ I could hear my friend screaming,” she said.
In sublime fashion she stationed herself next to the in-field board that registered the event, the official distance along with the World Record and her name. Lacking by quite the margin, Patricia Mamona of Portugal took silver with a national record of 15.01 meters. Ana Peleteiro, who trains with Rojas, set a Spanish record of 14.87 to win the bronze.
Rojas said, ''When I woke up this morning, I already knew today was going to be a good day. I had a very positive vibe I knew today things could be great, today I was going to write history. The last try was a magical moment.''
These athletes can cherish the records they've broken for 3 more years, until the next games in Paris. Who knows some might even last an eternity. SportsEquip caters to your every need by providing authentic sports equipment right at your door-step.