Paris Diamond League Takeaways: Faith Kipyegon, Yaroslava Mahuchikh Shatter World Records

By Paul Hof-Mahoney

July 7, 2024

The Paris Diamond League has once again blessed track fans. Today’s meet featured a pair of world records (one fewer than last year but we’ll take it), 12 additional national records, and too many PBs to count. Stade Charléty never disappoints.

Full results can be found here. We’ve also got interviews with many of the competing athletes up on the CITIUS MAG YouTube channel.

Here are the five best highlights of an awesome two hours in Paris:

Yaroslava Mahuchikh after setting the high jump world record at 2.10m.Yaroslava Mahuchikh after setting the high jump world record at 2.10m.

Jacob Gower / @jacob_gower_

Paris is for world records.

At only 22-years-old, Yaroslava Mahuchikh is already one of the greatest high jumpers in world history, and now she has the mark to prove it. The Ukrainian stepped onto the apron for her last jump today with the bar set at 2.10m/6’10.5”, a centimeter higher than Stefka Kostadinova’s world record that had stood for nearly 37 years. Just a few minutes after becoming the third-best jumper in history by clearing 2.07m (her best heading into today was 2.06m), one attempt was all it took Mahuchikh to make history.

The record-setting mark solidifies Mahuchikh’s place as the Olympic favorite, as she maintains her undefeated form outdoors, which includes a European title from last month. It was a very smooth series from the reigning World champion, never needing to take a third attempt at any height.

Given the fact that the best mark in history was set in this competition, it’s easy to see a winning margin of nine centimeters and think the field didn’t jump well, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. World Indoor champion Nicola Olyslagers of Australia finished second with a 2.01m clearance, the ninth 2-meter performance of her career. 18-year-old Angelina Topić equalled her PB and Serbian national record at 1.98m to finish third. She’s been in great form all season and has a great chance to land her first global medal this August.

Faith Kipyegon and Jess Hull during the 1500m at the Paris Diamond League.Faith Kipyegon and Jess Hull during the 1500m at the Paris Diamond League.

Jacob Gower / @jacob_gower_

No, seriously, Paris is for WORLD RECORDS.

That statement is especially true if your name is Faith Kipyegon. Just over a year after setting the 5000m world record on this very track, Kipyegon ran 3:49.04 over 1500m to set the world record in that event for the second time in her career. Aside from the pacers, the two-time Olympic champ led this race from the gun and never looked back.

Australia’s Jessica Hull stuck tight to Kipyegon at the bell, but a 59.3 second final 400m (to Hull’s 60.9) created a gap of almost two full seconds, despite Hull becoming the fifth-fastest woman in the event’s history in 3:50.83.

Finding the adjectives necessary to describe Faith Kipyegon is maybe the hardest part of covering track and field. She just keeps getting better and better, breaking barriers (usually set by herself) that we didn’t think would be broken for a long time. In August, she’ll attempt to become the first person, male or female, to win three straight Olympic titles over 1500m. While she’s at it, she’ll also stand a great chance to become the first woman to ever win both the 1500m and the 5000m at the Olympics. The competition will be incredibly stiff in both events, as it feels like women’s distance running across the globe has never been better, but betting against Faith Kipyegon is a fool’s errand.

Despite the awe-inspiring greatness of Kipyegon’s race, Hull’s performance today cannot be overlooked. In the process of shattering her own Oceanian record by over five seconds, the 27-year-old ran the seventh-fastest time ever. It’s a huge step forward for Hull and she is now in the thick of the conversation to win the first Olympic medal by an Australian in this event since Herb Elliott’s gold in 1960.

Places three through eight set PBs as well, led by Laura Muir in a British record of 3:53.79, her first PB in the event since Tokyo. Agathe Guillemot kept the home crowd happy, becoming the second Frenchwoman to break four minutes in a new national record of 3:58.05 to take eighth, exactly four seconds faster than her previous PB.

The finish of the men's 800m at the Paris Diamond League.The finish of the men's 800m at the Paris Diamond League.

Jacob Gower / @jacob_gower_

The 800m lived up to the hype

Saying today’s men’s 800m race just “lived up to the hype” is the understatement of the century. Three men ran in the 1:41s, which is a feat that only eight men have accomplished in history. Three more men ran faster than 1:42.43, meaning each of the top six finishers in this race entered the ranks of the 18 fastest men in the event’s history. Every man in the top eight set a PB, and there were four national records established. This race saw the fastest ever second-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place finishers in history.

The win in this race went to Algeria’s Djamel Sedjati, who once again showcased his world class kick to continue his undefeated Olympic campaign, this time becoming the third-fastest man ever in 1:41.56. Sedjati sat just behind Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya with 200m to go, but he finished like a freight train to cross the line just ahead of his rival. Wanyonyi, who ran 1:41.70 to win the Kenyan Trials last month, improved his PB but dropped a spot to fourth on the all-time list in 1:41.58.

Third place went to newly-crowned European champ Gabriel Tual of France, who was in fifth with 300m to go, was able to hang with the big dogs towards the finish and came away with a PB by over two seconds and new French record of 1:41.61. Alongside Sedjati and Tual, sixth-place finisher Eliott Crestan of Belgium and Andreas Kramer of Sweden also became their countries’ national record holders, finishing in 1:42.43 and 1:43.66, respectively.

The final from the 2012 London Olympics is generally viewed as the best 800m race in history, with David Rudisha setting the world record of 1:40.91 and the eighth-place finisher running 1:43.77. That race was also run without pacers or wavelight technology. It’s tough to say if today’s race was better, but next month’s final in Paris, with the addition of World Indoor champ Bryce Hoppel and reigning World champ Marco Arop, has the potential to clear them both.

Marileidy Paulino on her way to a 400m win at the Paris Diamond League.Marileidy Paulino on her way to a 400m win at the Paris Diamond League.

Diamond League AG

The World champ just keeps getting better

With the bombardment of 48-second 400m races we saw in early June, it might’ve been easy to lose track of who the reigning top quarter-miler in the world is. Marileidy Paulino is still pretty dang good and today won her fourth Diamond League race of the season in a new season’s best of 49.20, looking incredibly controlled while doing so. Since her race in Suzhou, where she only ran 50.89 but still by almost a second, the Dominican has gotten faster each and every time she’s stepped on the track.

Aside from the obvious season’s best, this race was the most impressive win of Paulino’s season because she took down a stacked field. European champ and sub-49 runner Natalia Kaczmarek finished second, but over six tenths-of-a-second back at 49.82. Other women that she’ll be matched up against in Paris have run faster this year, but particularly with Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone’s focus on the hurdles and Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s slow return from injury, it becomes more and more evident with every race that Paulino is still the woman to beat over one lap.

Third place went to 2019 World champion Salwa Eid Naser, just .003 seconds behind Kaczmarek (49.816 to 49.819). The third-fastest woman of all time is trending in the right direction with her second-best time since her return to the sport last spring. She still has more to prove before entering the medal conversation, but a performance like this against such a quality field is incredibly encouraging.

Abrham Sime and Amos Serem lean at the line at the Paris Diamond League.Abrham Sime and Amos Serem lean at the line at the Paris Diamond League.

Diamond League AG

Men’s steeple goes down to the wire with flurry of PBs

Steeplechase races can sometimes get overlooked on the men’s side when we don’t see either of world record holder Lamecha Girma or three-time global champ Soufiane El Bakkali, but switching off the TV would’ve been a grave mistake for today’s race.

After the last pacer stepped off a little more than halfway through the race, it was a three-man battle between Kenyans Abraham Kibiwot and Amos Serem versus Abrham Sime of Ethiopia. On the back stretch of the bell lap, Sime made a decisive move to the front of the lead pack. For the last 250m, Sime was holding on for dear life as Serem did everything he possibly could to close the gap. Kibiwot faded a bit off the last water jump, but Serem and Sime finished just two-thousandths of a second apart. Sime’s clocking of 8:02.356 made him the second-fastest man in the world this year and the second-fastest Ethiopian in history, while Serem finished just behind him but with a seven-second PB of 8:02.358.

Behind the top three, finishers four through six all set national records: Mohamed Amin Jhinaoui of Tunisia (8:09.41), Geordie Beamish of New Zealand (8:09.64, also an Oceanian record), and Avinash Sable of India (8:09.91). While it’s safe to assume that Girma and El Bakkali will once again battle for gold in Paris, the fight for bronze will be fierce as seven other men have run between 8:02 and 8:10 this year.

The next Diamond League competition will be the storied Herculis meeting in Monaco on Friday, July 12th. Stay tuned to our website and social media channels for previews, coverage, and interviews from the next big meet on the circuit over the next few days.

Paul Hof-Mahoney

Paul is currently a student at the University of Florida (Go Gators) and is incredibly excited to be making his way into the track and field scene. He loves getting the opportunity to showcase the fascinating storylines that build up year-over-year across all events (but especially the throws).