Why the 400m hurdles is one of the hardest Olympic races

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Running the 400-meter hurdles requires strategic rhythm, but it’s over so fast you just might miss it.

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There are few single events that demand as much skill as the 400-meter hurdle race. Olympians need to have the speed of a 200-meter dash runner, the endurance of an 800-meter runner, an understanding of rhythm, and, of course, the ability to efficiently clear a hurdle.

Various techniques can make or break a race. If you jump too high, you’re wasting time and energy; too low and you collide with a hurdle. Even if your technique over the hurdles is perfect, you can’t win if you don’t have the speed. Former Olympic hurdler and (until very recently) world record-holder Kevin Young helps us break down the rhythm of the 400-meter hurdles.

Correction: Karsten Warholm broke Kevin Young's record at a Diamond League meet in Oslo, Norway on July 1 - not at the Olympic Trials.

For more:

McLaughlin + Warholm’s record-breaking races:


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Terry Scott
Terry Scott 4 dagar sedan
The 800 and the 1500 is harder
Linh Phan
Linh Phan 8 dagar sedan
Yeah yeah yeah. Don’t forget about air pressure. When you glide through the air like a ninja, your body is supposed to be straight, horizontally. But if you run with your body straight up, you will find that it is harder to run fast. The air resistance is much stronger when you run with your body straight up. It’s the same for flying. Birds with a large wingspan tend to have large bodies that are straight and can glide with wind easily. That’s why ninjas can run fast enough in that position to be nearly impossible to see folks.
A D 10 dagar sedan
I'm just surprised that he's white....
Jah-Leah 20 dagar sedan
i can't believe I, a bball player ran this in HS . first time i tired in practice I nearly died..
Pete A
Pete A 23 dagar sedan
I waded into the comments here to disagree with everyone who claimed the 800m was harder, but the triathlon guys have me dying laughing. "We have a Timex watch!"
Chris Collins
Chris Collins 27 dagar sedan
No real analysis to support the title of the video.
Gene Edgerton
Gene Edgerton 27 dagar sedan
Kevin is so cool. Honorable.
Martin Poole
Martin Poole 28 dagar sedan
Also those hurdles are 91.4cm (3ft high) try jumping over that hight today in your day to day life.
Thomas Sletvold
Thomas Sletvold Månad sedan
Kevin Young is a true gentleman of the sport.
Rahul Rajbhar
Rahul Rajbhar Månad sedan
me getting anxious while watching this.
Denice K
Denice K Månad sedan
Mr. young is a class act, much respect to him as he tells his story and admires the next generation..
abdul hakeem
abdul hakeem Månad sedan
I'm exhausted by watching this.
FusionElm Månad sedan
easy dinner
Rashaman IRS
Rashaman IRS Månad sedan
1 000 000
Adrian Poli
Adrian Poli Månad sedan
I think you should redo the thumbnail for this video, considering the new world record.
Clare Fico
Clare Fico Månad sedan
My best and main event in track is the 400 m hurdles and let me tell you, it makes me wanna cry and just fall on the ground every time I step up to the starting line because I know what I'm about to go to: SO MUCH PAIN. I'm getting a nervous feeling just thinking about it. But my coach always says that you might as well go as hard as possible throughout because its gonna hurt either way and this advice has taken me so far that now I'm one of the best at the event in SC state.
Skewed Månad sedan
Never heard of 800 eh?
Jordan Morris
Jordan Morris Månad sedan
I can probably do 800m hurdles in 30 seconds. I just don't feel like it.
brian walrod
brian walrod Månad sedan
When I ran in HS the intermediate hurdles were 330 yds but in college they were 400m, glad I took an extra year off to train because an extra 100m was a killer .
SBW Makavelli
SBW Makavelli Månad sedan
Men’s runner that came last, still beat Sydney’s world record by 3 second 💀💀😂😂😂
Miguel Beretta
Miguel Beretta Månad sedan
800m will put hair on your chest
L Månad sedan
I adore Karsten Warholm with all my heart, been following the absolute legend for many years now, I managed to hold it together to watch his actual race but then hearing him interview after and say "I know everyone says don't let sport define you but this is all I am and all I do, it's so important to me" broke me, I get it and I'm happy for you if you have other joys outside of sports but for some of us it is all we think about, do, and pass on to others all day long and there's nothing wrong with that 💪💕
Jackson D
Jackson D Månad sedan
I run the 400 hurdles and hate it. However I’d much rather do the 400 than the 50.
eltzrothm1 Månad sedan
Vox didn't celebrate Warlhom. No surprise. Libs hate white success. Prove me wrong..
ncubesays Månad sedan
0:26 "Up until the night before this interview, he held the record... Karsten Warlhom bested him by 0.08s"
Morgy Dee
Morgy Dee Månad sedan
Coming back to this video thinking about Warholm and Benjamin's nuts Olympic Race, 45.94 and 46.1, whatever coach the interviewer talked to at the end was right about that night, it was will power on the track.
Jeffrey Gray
Jeffrey Gray Månad sedan
Every event is essentially equally difficult. The greatest athletes in the world train their whole lives to do every one of them. Every one is some balance of speed, power, and endurance, it's just a matter of how much of each. The marathon, the 100m, and the 400m hurdles are all similarly difficult, just in different ways. It's really impressive that we're in the golden age of 400m hurdles right now, when the #1, #2, and #3 all time athletes are all contemporaries, both men (Warholm, Benjamin, and Dos Santos) and women (McLaughlin, Muhammad, and Bol). I don't know of anything like it in athletics history. Those have to have been the hardest to get bronze medals of sll time.
Christopher Griffis
Christopher Griffis Månad sedan
300m hurdles in hs was the worst
Mushtaq Ahmed
Mushtaq Ahmed Månad sedan
The final comment proved how good an athlete he is by praising who broke his record.
Ian Cypes
Ian Cypes Månad sedan
I live in a state where our high schools only ran the 300 Hurdles instead of the 400 and everyone I know hated running that race.
Alan Schwartz
Alan Schwartz Månad sedan
0:32 that was wasn't Norway's trails it was a diamond league that happened to be in Oslo, Sydney's at the time was during the trails tho
Narcos Stereo Season 2
Narcos Stereo Season 2 Månad sedan
I once ran 1 km on an uphill-downhill terrain while trialing for the Bulgarian version of West Point accademy. I did not train a single bit before the race and needless to say at the end I just simply sat down because my feet could not stay up.
Daniel Brush
Daniel Brush Månad sedan
Bro that "science" 3 energy bars was so far wrong I don't even know were to begin.
Boe Jiden
Boe Jiden Månad sedan
I was able to do this around under a minute when I was in high school
Jessie Z
Jessie Z Månad sedan
Warholm & McLaughlin are just amazing!!!!
Harry Barodawala
Harry Barodawala Månad sedan
Marathon: Am I a joke to you?
Just some guy
Just some guy Månad sedan
Just under a week after this video was published, Warholm beat his own record by .76 seconds.
Kingdom Man
Kingdom Man Månad sedan
... and the record was broken again by the holder in Tokyo, and celebrated by ripping his outfit. The absolute Viking!
Renato Månad sedan
And in the 2021 Olympic final, few weeks after this video, all those who took the podium achieved the record that Young made reigning for almost three decades. The game evolved.
Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson Månad sedan
I’d like to be interviewed by her as well.
baixi chen
baixi chen Månad sedan
The cynical reading ganguly groan because richard interestedly consider until a roasted editor. uninterested, abundant dresser
Baranidharan P Nagabooshanam
Baranidharan P Nagabooshanam Månad sedan
Every game is hard to play and hard to beat opponents.Any game will bring best out of it.
Mike Scharding
Mike Scharding Månad sedan
Having done the race, it is brutal.
relm Månad sedan
hearing those first words gave me war flash backs of the performance anxiety I would get from doing hurdles back in highschool track meets
KrazyNigerian14 Månad sedan
Interestingly enough I felt like the open 400 was harder than the 400 hurdles… mentally I divided the race into stages as opposed to one long sprint… Probably should also mention however was that I was fresh for the hurdles while the 400 was during the 4x400.
Syhrl Dzkr
Syhrl Dzkr Månad sedan
I remember how this 400m hurdles back in district competition...its hards really tiredness double the energy needed for 400m
Ola Tryland
Ola Tryland Månad sedan
Marlon Carr
Marlon Carr Månad sedan
Interesting....I just thought they ran and jumped 😑
KAT Månad sedan
Now Sydney broke her own WR
Meredith White
Meredith White Månad sedan
Warholm brought the record under 46 seconds now. Rai Benjamin, who got silver also went under the previous WR.
Michael Kregnes
Michael Kregnes Månad sedan
Giovanni Leung
Giovanni Leung Månad sedan
Here’s for Warholm breaks the world record again. That’s amazing how he improved 0.7s more from the previous record.
eleefant Månad sedan
I swear people say every single track event is the hardest race.
Rica Charlotte Cube
Rica Charlotte Cube Månad sedan
As an athlete, I'm so happy that this video really explained how hard my sport is.😭❤️
Thiago Mauá
Thiago Mauá Månad sedan
And Both 1st and 2nd places in the Olympic Finals broke the former WR. 3rd place, Brazilian Alison, almost broke it, by 2 hundredths.
Vairo Månad sedan
:] Månad sedan
And it’s been broken again!! 🎉🎉
BldgWha7 Månad sedan
So a white guy just won the Olympic 400m final, can you please make a video about how racist the 400m hurdles are?
Gustavo Berocan Veiga
Gustavo Berocan Veiga Månad sedan
“Oh yeah! New level is here baby” Warholm
dapianna23 Månad sedan
Still have PTSD from 300m hurdles in high school
oceangirl 1300
oceangirl 1300 Månad sedan
Ran this in high school & yes haha it’s definitely brutal but I loved it 🥵😂
sam Wilkinson
sam Wilkinson Månad sedan
It's mad that Kevin young would not have made the podium in the most recent Olympic final even though he held the world record for over 20 years.
Bruno de Freitas
Bruno de Freitas Månad sedan
In the 2020 Olympics Final, the 3 podium finishers beat the pre-Warholm record. Warholm himself managed to improve it and be the first man to ever race it under 46s.
KingTray Månad sedan
Might have to redo this video it got broken again
IxKILLxZ0MBIES Månad sedan
I made the mistake of volunteering for the 400m hurdles on a sports day in high school thinking it would be nothing I came second to last and almost died.
Ordon Lawle
Ordon Lawle Månad sedan
The belligerent organisation energetically muddle because person namely rub alongside a selfish correspondent. nutritious, unequal sidecar
Miriam Dean
Miriam Dean Månad sedan
As a prior hurdler, I am so happy the race is being highlighted! It seems there is so much hype given to a lot of other races.
Bart Månad sedan
Perhaps the Men's 400m dash in the 1960 Olympics comes closest to rival or better this accomplishment. At Rome, Otis Davis and Kauffman broke the world record and were separated by a thousandth of section (via a photofinish). The third (Malcolm Spence) and fourth Milkha Singh broke the record (old world record) got separated by a couple of hundredths of a second. So, in short all of them broke the old record. Remarkably, Davis, Kauffman and Singh equalled or bettered the Olympic record in the semis.
sebatian Månad sedan
you see.....a white person broke his record. that will shutup the genetists
Olav Remme Haukvik
Olav Remme Haukvik Månad sedan
I know hindsight is 20/20, but you really should have made this AFTER the olympics final :)
Olav Remme Haukvik
Olav Remme Haukvik Månad sedan
@Niklas Nilsson Honestly great point, Niklas.
Niklas Nilsson
Niklas Nilsson Månad sedan
But the last prediction in the film wouldn't be so good after the olympics. To say that before the race is something that only can be said by a true expert knowing what he is talking about.
God's_daughter Månad sedan
Vox is killing it with these videos. Good job!
Sudhanshu Ranjan
Sudhanshu Ranjan Månad sedan
0:34 I thought my screen had cracked lol
Stephan Ortiz
Stephan Ortiz Månad sedan
this race is a near death experience.
Channel19 Månad sedan
Who is here after warholm sub 46 sec run ?
Neil Oscar Salac
Neil Oscar Salac Månad sedan
watching this after warholm demolished his own record
Kristján Guðmundsson
Kristján Guðmundsson Månad sedan
Karsten Warholm!!! made my country proud!! 😭❤🇳🇴
gqn2 Månad sedan
Vox: 400m hurdles is the hardest. Tokyo 2020: Everyone breaking world records.
Xander West
Xander West Månad sedan
Sydney broke it again!
Paul Wright
Paul Wright Månad sedan
There are so many moving parts in this race that make it hard. Karsten Warholm basically had everything go right that could have during the entire race (except that last hurdle). Honestly, that was the difference. I don't run at all and I saw a couple of (small) mistakes in Rai Benjamin's run. If you watch it back, he chops his steps up leading to the second and third hurdles (and possibly others). Warholm took it out perfectly all the way to the last hurdle, where he did the same. Basically, Warholm never really had to slow down that much or expend extra energy building his speed back up. Benjamin was starting to reel Warholm in but ran out of gas in the last 50. As great as their races were, there are STILL tiny corrections both could theoretically make that might have them go faster -- and they are still young!
Flashstar 123
Flashstar 123 Månad sedan
The length of the race: in metric units (400 meters) Vox: it’s a quarter of a mile
Ben DE
Ben DE Månad sedan
Who came back after Warhlom’s epic race in Tokyo. The guy is a beast.
James Sutter
James Sutter Månad sedan
Warholm went under 46.00 yesterday in Tokyo. Shattered his own record it's 45.94 now!
Paul Wright
Paul Wright Månad sedan
Actually, all three medalists beat the old record that had stood for 29 years. Benjamin also shatterd Warholm's recent record by over half a second, and los Santos came close to it. From what I read 7 of the 8 finalists set personal bests, and some set national or continental records as well. What was on that track?
Aaron S
Aaron S Månad sedan
Who’s here after the 400m hurdles final where Warholm smashed the world record
cfc fan
cfc fan Månad sedan
Who's here after Warholm broke his own world record by around a second
borfried Månad sedan
Here after that amazing race Warholm just won. Fantastic participants all around. You could say in a way they really pushed Warholm to that record.
Gurt Månad sedan
This didn’t age well … Norway just destroyed this WR
byeForNow Månad sedan
And the WORLD RECORD is broken again. Warholm is a generational talent.
Khumo Kwezi Mashapa
Khumo Kwezi Mashapa Månad sedan
"Why the 400mh is one of the hardest events" Karsten, Sydney, Rai, Dalilah: LOL
Elmer Moore
Elmer Moore Månad sedan
The massive palm byerly taste because boundary phenotypically deliver than a tan tent. nauseating, curvy yacht
Kaki Game
Kaki Game Månad sedan
It is hurt so much when succeed in breaking WR and OR but end up in 2nd place. Hope rai benjamin stay focus for next olympic and get his gold medal like warholm.. best race ever.
marghilano Månad sedan
Here after Warholm went sub 46 sec. These guys are absolute beasts. I ran track in HS, mostly the mile but I can't even run sub 50 400m w/o hurdles. Amazing!
laura schneider
laura schneider Månad sedan
who else is here after karsten warholm's sub-46-second time
J M Månad sedan
Who is here after Warholm's gold and new WR? What a beast!
Tsenngu Månad sedan
Congrats to Warholm for completely CRUSHING his old WC and running a 45 second run...that record will be legendary for a LONG LONG time :)
NO THIS IS PATRICK ! Månad sedan
Its basically IRL speed running.
mark john
mark john Månad sedan
a week later ,warholm breaks the wr again
Nil Nil
Nil Nil Månad sedan
Warholm blasted his own record again, he's a Viking beast.
electric_magnetic Månad sedan
A MINUTE!!! no thank you
Bishesh Subedi
Bishesh Subedi Månad sedan
And today, Karsten Warholm smash his own record with 45 second and 94 millisecond for Olympic Gold medal and new World Record. Incredible!
Lihtsalt Kristjan
Lihtsalt Kristjan Månad sedan
Who's watching after the mens final?
Ozamataz Buckshank
Ozamataz Buckshank Månad sedan
Looking forward for Warholm-Benjamin rivalry for years to come
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