The Norwegian athlete Karsten Warholm has received royal congratulations after setting a new world and Olympic record in the 400 metre hurdles. Karsten Warholm became the first man ever recorded to run this distance in less than 46 seconds. It’s been hailed by the Norwegian media as potentially the greatest sporting achievement in the history of the country. And King Harald has sent a private congratulatory telegram to the sports star.
Warholm himself called the race the biggest moment in his career, and the Olympic gold was the last thing missing in the collection. The 25-year-old has now won Olympic gold, World Cup gold and European Championship gold in addition to improving his own world record in the distance. King Harald told him: “I send my warmest congratulations for a new world record, gold medal and as an Olympic champion in the 400 meter hurdles during the Olympics in Tokyo!”
When the Olympics were last held in Tokyo in 1964, it was King Harald who carried the Norwegian flag during the opening ceremony. King Harald participated in sailing in three summer Olympics. His father, King Olav, won Olympic gold in sailing 93 years ago.
The Norwegian King and Warholm have previously met in the TV-program “Karsten og Leif”. Then the king expressed his doubts that the Olympics could even take place this year as the programme was recorded during some of the most uncertain times of the pandemic. The King and Warholm talked mainly about sports and then the King expressed that he had no faith that it would be possible to hold the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021. The King continued: “Do we want to gather 70,000 people now? No, we cannot do that. Neither for the sake of the participants nor for the sake of the mood. It will be completely empty. The Olympics is the only place where all the sports are gathered”.
Many Norwegians reacted on social media when Karsten Warholm showed up to meet the king wearing shorts. The King himself commented on this immediately when Warholm and his coach arrived at the royal farm on Bygdøy. The king laughed well and said: “You are lucky you who can wear shorts in this heat”.