OUT­STAND­ING ONE-LAP TAL­ENT: MICHAEL NOR­MAN

Athletics Weekly - - Spotlight - SS

THE 400m is not short of ex­cit­ing tal­ent at the mo­ment but the in-form man thus far in 2018 is Michael Nor­man of the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

The 20-year-old Amer­i­can, who won the world ju­nior ti­tle in 2016 in By­d­goszcz, has since made his mark at the one lap dis­tance but he had al­ready showed his tal­ent as a ju­nior when he ran 45.51 be­fore win­ning his world ti­tle.

In 2017, he fo­cussed on the 400m and ran a 44.88 PB in fin­ish­ing fourth in the NCAA Cham­pi­onships and then im­proved to 44.60 in the Amer­i­can Cham­pi­onships semi-fi­nals.

The fi­nal proved one race too many for the teenager and he ran 44.80 in sev­enth place.

This year he made an im­me­di­ate im­pres­sion when win­ning the NCAA in­door ti­tle in a world record 44.52.

He has con­tin­ued that form out­doors and first served no­tice of im­proved speed as he sped to a windy 19.84/2.8 at 200m in May at Palo Alto.

Later in the month, at the same venue, he brought his 400m PB down to 44.40.

How­ever, no one quite ex­pected such a break­through in the NCAA Cham­pi­onships in Eu­gene.

He won his heat in 44.66 but in the fi­nal he re­ally went for it and the re­sult was a near one-se­cond PB 43.61 to go sixth all time be­hind Wayde van Niek­erk (43.03), Michael John­son (43.18),

Butch Reynolds (43.29). Jeremy

Wariner (43.45) and Quincy Watts (43.61).

It’s worth not­ing the next four in the all-time lists – LaShawn Mer­ritt,

Fred Ker­ley, Isaac Mak­wala and Ki­rani James are all still com­pet­ing but Nor­man passed them all in one swoop and could be the favourite to be­come his­tory’s first sub-43 man.

This year apart from his two NCAA golds at 400m, he has also been part of the win­ning USC world-leading teams in­doors and out at the NCAA 4x400m.

Event: 400m

Na­tion: United States Age: 20

PBs: 200m 19.84w; 400m 43.61

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