OUTSTANDING ONE-LAP TALENT: MICHAEL NORMAN
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.
Nation: United States Age: 20
PBs: 200m 19.84w; 400m 43.61