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South African sets 400m world record for gold

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk won the men’s 400-meter Olympic title in a world-record time of 43.03 seconds in Rio...
Wayde van Niekerk

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk won the men’s 400-meter Olympic title in a world-record time of 43.03 seconds in Rio de Janeiro Brazil Sunday night.

South African Van Niekerk, running in the outside lane, stormed out of the blocks and held off of 2012 champion Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt. He lowered the mark of 43.18 that Michael Johnson set in Seville, Spain, in 1999.

Van Niekerk looked to have set out far too quickly but, incredibly, got faster around the top bend and then sustained that top speed down the final stretch.

The 2008 Olympic champion, LaShawn Merritt, gets the bronze.