Grant Holloway breaks the world record for 60m hurdles in Madrid

Grant Holloway, after breaking the record.

Short of neck, long of legs, Grant Holloway more than jumping them devours the fences, the five small obstacles that stand in his way. It is devastating. He runs down Sixth Street of the Gallur track, at the Madrid International Meeting, and it’s a cyclone, a hurricane, and even in the deserted stands you can feel the wind coming, and when it ends, 60 meters, five hurdles, the world, the rest, behind him, far away, the chronometer points to 7.32s, and Holloway, a kid from Chesapeake (Virginia), 23 years old, a tender giant of 1.90 m, the ground sinks under his feet, pure frustration. Again 7.32s, the same mark as in the semifinals, an hour earlier, the same mark as 15 days ago in France, and the world record, the mark that he longs to beat, and that he knows he has to beat, are 7, 30s … And he’s in the middle of the depression, well, Holloway, another face of the new North American athletics, with Mike Norman, with his countryman Noah Lyles, with Rai Benjamin, the friends he plays against every night, lying on the sofa in front of the giant screen television in his Gainesville, Florida, apartment, Call of Duty Cold War, when from your cabin speaker, Alberto Pozas begins to shout exalted, 7.29, 7.29, world record, world record, world record!, and people surround Holloway, who does not understand anything, because he looks at the marker and nowhere does his time appear. And Holloway is Saint Thomas, he has to see to believe, and he is for at least a minute, until everything clears up and they promise him that yes, he has finally broken the world record, that Colin Jackson’s 7.30s , the Cardiff cat, untouchable world record since 1994, are now history. And the best almost in history collided with his brand, Dayron Robles, Greg Foster, Allen Johnson …

The mark with which Holloway, a Stakhanovist of the slopes from Virginia, finally managed to make his fifth attempt in a month. It is the fourth world record set this lavish winter after the triple jump of the Burkinabe Fabrice Zango (18.07m, January 16), the shot put of the North American Ryan Crouser (22.82m, January 24) and the of the 1,500m of the Ethiopian Tsegay (3m 53.09s, February 9).

And finally the scoreboard points to it, and the stopwatch, and everyone is happy in Madrid around the athlete who is already holding tightly, and is an hour without letting go of his hands, the sign that says World Record in large letters. He has broken a world record, and one of the most prestigious, a year just after Yulimar Rojas’ 15.43m in the triple, inaugurated the record book of the Carabanchel neighborhood pavilion. He thus takes over from the track of the old Sports Palace, in the 80s and 90s Leroy Burrell, Andre Cason, Mo Greene, Irina Privalova, Nelly Cooman and Marlene Ottey broke repeated world speed records, and Isinbayeva one of pole, already in 2005, with the Palace renovated after the fire.

If the Welshman Colin Jackson, the athlete so smooth that his footsteps did not make noise and appeared suddenly, as if from nowhere, and when he flew over the fifth hurdle he was already prepared to start the final strides before launching himself on the imaginary treadmill. the finish line, was the man of the last meters, Holloway, already world champion of the long distance, the 110m hurdles, in Doha a year and a half ago, he is the great specialist of the first hurdle. This is what happened to Orlando Ortega, the Spanish Olympic medalist who, injured, could not participate in the Madrid rally: “Holloway is very strong, explosive and fast. Last year in Poland, on the second fence he took 2m for all of us. I won it in the last hurdles. He can break the world record in 60 hurdles at any time. “

Grant Holloway, trained in Florida by Mike Holloway, who is not related, is an athlete who is worth everything, because with the University of Florida, the Gators, In addition to six university titles in hurdles, he was champion of 60m sprints and medalist in height (best mark, 2.16m) and in length (8.17m) in the same session. Only when he turned professional, without completing college, in 2019 did he focus on hurdles, a world that makes him feel lost at times. “I forgot to run hurdles,” he said shortly before winning the Doha World Cup. “You’re on the track and you jump, but you forget what happens, you know how to jump, but you don’t know what that is about. I was like that and I didn’t feel like Grant Holloway, it wasn’t me… ”. He came out of that crisis with an order from his coach. “You just need to get to the first fence first,” he told her. “Then you will be Holloway.” “And so I do,” acknowledges the giant. “Now I only have to work the second part of the 110m hurdles more, in which I always suffer.”

The organizers expected another world record, that of the 3,000m for women (Genzebe Dibaba’s 8m 16,60s), but the Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, who has a winter of fire on her Adidas (world record of 1,500m; and an 800m In 1m 57.52s, he stayed at 8m 22.65. To the same extent that it helps in speed and jumping tests, the more than 660 meters of altitude in Madrid hurt in the background.

With the flop from Tsegay, the 800m of Mariano García, rose to the position of the second great test of the night. Before a good starting list, with the French Pierre Ambroise Bosse, outdoor world champion, with the tremendous Bosnian Amel Tuka, with the European champion Álvaro de Arriba … And before them, without wrinkling, the Murcian from Fuente el Álamo , famous for his dynamite change in the final meters, he transformed, thus, suddenly, into Rudisha, Wilson Kipketer, or Juantorena, choose, a front runner That came out so fast that he even overtook the quality hare he had requested, Guillermo Rojo, who was enrolled at the last minute because the athlete wanted to pass the 400m in 50s. More serene but no less fast, Mariano García, who has shaved his hair – “it was the key, the haircut: the manager told me to cut it” – and he is more refined in every way , remained in the lead, with a good advantage, all four laps, and finished with 1m 45.66s, the best mark of his life, and third in a Spanish ranking dominated for 19 years by the 1m 45.25s of Antonio Manuel Reina . The brand, sixth in Europe this 2021, a list dominated by the incredible 1m 43.63s of the British Elliot Giles, allows him to go with some optimism to the European of Torun, where he will meet more Britons in shape and with the Swede Kramer and with local idol, Adam Kszczot.

“He was looking to blow up the brand and that’s how it was,” says the Murcian who revealed himself to the fans at the European Championship in Glasgow two years ago, and the cameras focused a lot on him because at the outings he made as if he were starting an imaginary motorcycle. “I have started from a determined beginning, we are going to see if we break the brand that I had and we have broken it, and it is very good for the European Championship. Although the British and others are beasts I am not afraid of them. Surely they are already checking me with the rear-view mirror and they will already be worried that there is another one that has dropped to 45 … I am going to mess it up as much as possible and fight every round …

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