In 1983, Edwin Moses broke his own world record in the 400-meter hurdles, blazing home in 47.02 seconds at a meet in Koblenz, Germany. The following year, Moses won his second Olympic gold medal in the event, but he never did break the 47-second barrier — that didn’t happen until Kevin Young ran a 46.78 to win gold at the 1992 Olympics.
As the hurdlers lined up for Tuesday’s gold medal race in Tokyo, only three other men — Abderrahman Samba of Qatar, Norway’s Karsten Warholm, and American Rai Benjamin — had ever gotten under 47 seconds, with Warholm having set the world record at 46.70 last month in Oslo.
Alison dos Santos of Brazil joined the sub-47 club with a 46.72 on Tuesday, but that wasn’t enough for gold because the world record got broken — shattered, in fact — as Benjamin ran a once-unthinkable 46.17… which also wasn’t enough for gold because Warholm became the first man to go under 46 seconds, at 45.94.
For nearly 29 years, 46.78 was the time to beat, then it was 46.70 for a month, and despite destroying the previous world record, Benjamin only gets to come home with a silver medal. He does, however, have company, because he’s not the first athlete to do what nobody else has done before… except for another person doing the same thing at the same time. Here’s a look back at some folks who can relate to what Benjamin experienced in his Olympic moment.