April 20, 2019
21-year-old American Michael Norman, who in his last 400-meter race won the 2018 NCAA title in a collegiate record of 43.61 last June, picked up today right where he left off last year as he opened his 2019 campaign with a sensational 43.45 400 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays in California.
Norman’s time ties him as the 4th fastest man in history as he’s now equal to 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner, and 43.45 ties for the 6th best 400 mark ever.
43.45 is also the fastest a human being has ever run for 400 meters in April as the previous record belonged to 1996 and 2000 Olympic champ Michael Johnson, who opened his 1997 season with a 43.75 on April 19. For those of you assuming that Norman opening so fast means he’ll automatically break Wayde van Niekerk‘s world record of 43.03, please realize that in 1997 Johnson never ran faster than he did in his season opener.
After the race, Norman said he was happy to open his pro career in Southern California at a meet where he ran as a freshman in high school (his team got last in the 4 x 400 which he said he remembers vividly) as he’s not a fan of travelling. Norman said that even though he’s a pro not much has changed since last year as he’s still at USC being coached by Caryl Smith Gilbert and Quincy Watts, the 1992 Olympic 400 champ, finishing up his degree in communications.
“Honestly, it’s been the same. School, practice sleep, repeat,” said Norman. “I’d say the only main difference is I have a car and I drink a lot of organic smoothies now. Those are probably two main difference between this year and last year. Otherwise it’s pretty much the same.”
Norman admitted however he was surprised by how fast he ran.
“Oh yeah definitely. I wasn’t expecting to run that fast – maybe between like a 43.9 and a 44.4 range – would have been more of my expectations. To come out here and run that fast is mind-blowing,” said Norman who said now he’ll turn his attention to working on the “finer details” of his craft once finishes up school (the last day of classes are next Friday and commencement is May 10th).
“I think it’s probably the best way to start your pro career. “
Watch Norman’s incredible run below and then talk about Michael on our world famous fan forum / messageboard.