On August 15th Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa set a new 2016 Olympic World Record in the Men’s 400m track event.
He improved on Michael Johnson’s (USA) previous Olympic record of 43.49 (set in the 1996 Atlanta games) to 43.03 seconds.
For an updated list of this year’s Olympic and World records you can click here.
Here is the world record race by Wayde van Niekerk in case you missed it.
After the race the NBC commentator said he was astonished that they may one day see a sub 43 second 400m time.
He may have been pandering because any fan of the sport knows that the records and impossible times seem to always fall.
For example… the idea of a four minute mile seemed impossible in the 1940’s.
Below are the world recorder holder times for the one mile run starting in 1942.
Notice how there was a nearly 9 year gap before Roger Bannister finally broke past the four minute mark.
Mr. Bannister has an interesting story.
The lesson inside Roger’s accomplishment doesn’t rest in his ingenuity or dedication (both of which he had plenty)…
… but more so the lesson of possibility.
When Roger broke the four minute mile, it became a possibility to others.
It took John Landy all of 46 days to beat Roger’s world record.
You see this a lot in sports.
Watch an episode of America Ninja Warrior and you will see person after person fail to finish the course.
Then one person finally finishes and suddenly it becomes a reality for others and many “ninjas” finish the course right after the breakthrough.
The mental switch flips and suddenly it’s a possibility.
The Olympics are a good reminder of this.
As world records are being broken you’re seeing someone who believed it to be a possibility before it happened.
It’s funny what those people can accomplish, not only for themselves, but for raising the competition up to a new possibility.
4 Mile Run stats – Wiki