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South African sprinter broke 17-year-old world record in Rio

South African sprinter broke 17-year-old world record in Rio The South African sprinter broke Michael Johnson's 17-year-old world record on Sunday night in Rio de Janeiro, leaving two of the greatest one-lap runners of this era in his dust. Van Niekerk finished in 43.03 seconds — 0.15 seconds faster than Johnson ran on Aug. 26, 1999, in Seville, Spain. To think, Johnson's mark was considered one of the almost untouchable records in track.

"I thought someone was going to catch me," Van Niekerk explained. "I felt very alone at the end."

The 24-year-old Van Niekerk leaned at the finish line, which he really didn't need to do as Kirani James of Grenada and LaShawn Merritt of the Unites States weren't even in the picture. James, the defending Olympic champion, finished with the silver and Merritt, who won gold eight years ago in Beijing, hung on for bronze.
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