Karsten Warholm: I’m Pissed Because I Lost My World Title

By Chris Chavez

June 16, 2023

Olympic champion and world record holder Karsten Warholm stamped his return to the top of the 400m hurdles with a 46.52s win and world-leading time at the Oslo Diamond League.

Here’s what you need to know:

– Karsten Warholm won in front of a home crowd with the fourth-fastest performance in history. It was the second-fastest performance of his career behind his 45.94 world record at the Tokyo Olympics. Only Rai Benjamin’s 46.17 for silver in Tokyo and Alison dos Santos’ 46.29 to win gold at last year’s World Championships were faster.

– Warholm was seventh at last year’s world championships. He tore his hamstring at the Rabat Diamond League just six weeks before the World Championships. He went on to win gold at the European Championships and finished the year with a 47.12 season’s best.

– This was his first hurdle race since September 2022.

– Warholm is back to being the world championship favorite. Benjamin, last year’s world championship silver medalist, was the world leader going into Oslo with his 47.74 in April but has reportedly been dealing with a quad injury and has not raced since winning the Doha Diamond League in 47.78 on May 5. Dos Santos is likely out for the season since he underwent knee surgery in February.

What Warholm said after the race:

How do you keep the confidence after going through so much injury to then come back and perform like this?

“I think injuries are somehow always part of the game but you have to keep them short. I feel like when I was done with that injury, it took me six weeks and it was tough of course in Oregon but I felt like I was back in great shape in Munich. Now, I’ve been training great this winter and I’m pissed because I lost my world title and of course, I’m going to fight to get it back.

You must have a lot of internal belief because coming from injury, not racing that much and the minute the gun goes off, you took off like a bullet out of the blocks. To have that confidence without knowing where you’re at, where does that come from?

“When I train, I usually run time trials against myself and I run my races at the same time. I’m very confident with my opening as long as my fitness level is where I want it to be, which it is right now – probably even better than I thought as well. These openings are something that I’m used to. It works out great for me and I think this is hopefully just the start.”

You lay it all out there in training and racing. Is that just the way you go?

“It’s in my nature. I’m very competitive and this means a lot to me. You can see it in my running. This is my way of doing it and my way of solving it. To be honest, without trying to be cocky, I think we have changed the way everyone runs the 400m hurdles. A lot of people start faster now than they did, even in the women’s 400m hurdles. I think before everyone was talking about this rhythm and you have to find it by starting slow and finishing the race fast. But I think this is a sprint in the same way as Wayde Van Niekerk’s 400m world record. You have to open tough because you can’t go out there and pick up those tenths (of a second) in the end.”

What’s Next?

Warholm will race at the Stockholm Diamond League on July 2. The last time he competed there was in 2020 when he clocked a 46.87 for a European record.

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.