Athletics might have been plagued with various drug and doping related scandals in recent years, but take nothing away from true athletes with pure talents that are gradually emerging. Their days in the spotlight is fast approaching. The shine and pleasantries of athletics in the last decade has revolved around the likes of Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and so many other top athletes. But with a decline in age, comes a decline in performance as well. As for the king of the sprint, himself, Usain Bolt; history would not be in a hurry to forget him any time soon.
But upon his retirement last year, there seems to have been a cloud hovering over the world of athletics; given the high rate of drop related doping in the game. Well, to fan of athletics who has been carrying a heavy heart regarding the world of sprints, please calm down; as a new kid on the block, **“Michael Norman”** has arrived.
Over the weekend, at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, a 20-year old sophomore at the University of Southern California became a legend in his own right by breaking a 13-year old record set by Kerron Clement at the 2005 world indoor NCAA meet, when he ran a time of 44.52 seconds to win the men’s 400 meters in US collegiate indoor championships in Texas.
Michael Norman zoomed through the first lap in just 21.33 seconds on his way to breaking the previous record and setting his. His new record shades 0.05 seconds off the record set and held by compatriot Kerron Clement who himself, won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the last 2016 Olympics in Rio.
During the heat, Akeem Bloomfield from Auburn ran a world-leading time of 44.86, which was just one-hundredth of a second off last year’s facility record set by Fred Kerley. Norman, who qualified for the meet at 45.00 seconds, was the NCAA leader; and knowing the task at hand and the challenge he faced, he powered through the first turn and never dropped a pace, as he zoomed to the finish line at the stop clock time of 44.52.
The 20-year old Norman first came to the limelight in 2016, as a high school senior when he finished 5th during the U.S. Olympic trials in the 200 meters. He eventually won the same event at the World U20 Championships in 2016. Michael Norman’s USC teammate in the female category, Kendall Ellis must have been felt she earned the right to be a little bit miffed at not being praised as well for her record. This is because just few minutes after Norman broke the men’s record, Kendall Ellis broke the American and NCAA record in the women’s 400 by running a time of 50.34.
The most unlucky of the weekend’s achievers in the NCAA 2018 Championships was freshman Sydney McLaughlin from Kentucky. She ran in the 400 women’s heat 2, while Ellis was in heat 1. McLaughlin ran a time of 50.36, which was well under the previous NCAA/American record set at 50.46 by Phyllis Francis; but McLaughlin’s laudable time was only good for a second place on the stats, as Ellis top her via a 0.02 difference.
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