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Michael Norman returns to 400m, old coach

Norman holds off the field to win worlds 400m
American Michael Norman holds off Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Kirani James to win the 400m at the World Athletics Championships.

Michael Norman, the 2022 World 400m champion who in 2023 switched focus to the 100m, moved back to the 400m after last season and returned to his old coach, Quincy Watts, a representative for Norman confirmed.

On Saturday, Norman ran his first race since last July, clocking 44.21 seconds in a 400m, ranking him second in the world so far this year by best time.

It was one hundredth faster than Jamaican Antonio Watson’s winning time at last August’s world championships.

To make the Paris Olympic team in the individual 400m, Norman must finish in the top three at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials from June 21-30 in Eugene, Oregon.

Norman, 26, announced last February that he was moving down from the 400m to the 100m after accomplishing a goal of becoming a gold medalist in the longer distance at the 2022 Worlds.

Norman then experienced what he called “setback after setback” in the 2023 season, including tendonitis.

He also switched coaches last May from Watts, who had coached him since he ran collegiately for USC in 2017 and 2018, to John Smith, who coached Watts to 1992 Olympic 400m gold.

Last July, Norman was eliminated in the first round of the 100m at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships by placing eighth in his heat.

A month later, Norman announced he was done for the season and focusing on the 2024 Olympic year, opting not to take an automatic spot in the 400m at worlds as defending champion.

Norman has the world’s two fastest 400m times in this Olympic cycle, a 43.56 and a 43.60, both from 2022.

Norman was also the world’s fastest 400m runner over the previous Olympic cycle, then placed fifth at the Tokyo Games.