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Femke Bol breaks oldest world record in track

Dutch National Championships Indoor Senior 2023

APELDOORN, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 19: Femke Bol celebrating her World Record during the Dutch Championships Athletics Indoor 2023 at Omnisport on February 19, 2023 in Apeldoorn, Netherlands (Photo by Patrick Goosen/Orange Pictures)

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Femke Bol, the Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medalist, broke the longest-standing world record in a track race, taking down a 41-year-old record in the women’s indoor 400m on Sunday.

Bol, 22, ran 49.26 seconds at the Dutch indoor championships in Apeldoorn.

“When I crossed the line I knew that the record was mine, because of the noise that the crowd made,” she said, according to World Athletics.

She broke Czech Jarmila Kratochvilova‘s world record of 49.59 from March 1982. That was the longest-standing world record in any track race that’s on the Olympic or world outdoor or indoor championships program.

The outdoor 400m world record is 47.60, set by German Marita Koch in 1985.

The new longest-standing world record is now Kratochvilova’s outdoor 800m world record of 1:53.28 from 1983. Since Kratochvilova set that 800m record, once has a woman come within 96 hundredths of a second of it.

The only older world record in all of track and field (not just races) is Czech Helena Fibingerova‘s indoor shot put world record of 22.50 meters set in 1977.

Earlier this indoor season, Bol ran the fastest time in history in the indoor 500m (1:05.63), which is not on the world championships program. She also has the fastest time in history in the 300m hurdles (36.86), which is not on the Olympic or world championships program.

Bol is the third-fastest woman in history in her primary event, the 400m hurdles, behind Americans Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Dalilah Muhammad. At last year’s worlds, she took silver in a race won by McLaughlin-Levrone in a world record time. Bol was 1.59 seconds behind.

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