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OPINION: Is Miller-Uibo’s goal of running a double World Record feasible?

Shaunae Miller-Uibo has her sights set on breaking the 200m and 400m World Records, a rare feat only achieved by two women in history.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo is gunning to become a double World Record holder

Reigning Olympic and World 400m Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo has big plans for her track career; she is bidding to become a double World Record (WR) holder in the 200m and 400m.

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The Bahamian has her sights on 21.30s mark in the 200m and 47.50s over her trademark event, the 400m. If she does these, she will join legendary sprinters Irena Szewinska and Marita Koch as the only female athletes to have achieved the feat in history.

Currently, the 200m WR stands at 21.34s, set by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988. The closest anyone has come to breaking this was last year at the World Championships in Oregon, where Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson won the title in a huge Personal Best (PB) and National Record (NR) of 21.45s.

In the 400m, Jarmila Kratochvílová became the first woman to break the 48s barrier, clocking a then WR of 47.99s in 1983. It was unbroken for two years until her archrival Koch smashed it in 1985. Koch's time of 47.60s still stands today, and both are the only women to have broken 48s in a 400m laned race.

For context, all women stated above (except Jackson, who is still very active) set more than one WR during their careers.

Szewinska was a Polish sprinter who dominated athletics in multiple events for 16 years, from 1964 to 1980. She remains the only athlete in history, male or female, to have held WRs in the three sprints: 100m (11.13s), 200m (22.21s), and 400m (49.29s).

Koch once ran a 200m WR time of 21.71s, and Griffith-Joyner’s 100m WR of 10.49s is still unbroken, the same as Kratochvílová’s 800m WR of 1:53.28.

Concerning this, Miller-Uibo does not have a WR to her name yet.

One lesson the World Championships in Oregon taught was that records can be erased, no matter how unattainable they seem.

Tobi Amusan became the first Nigerian to run a WR, defeating the previous 100m Hurdles record holder Keni Harrison in the semifinals, clocking 12.12s. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone obliterated her own 400m Hurdles WR of 51.41s by an astonishing 0.78s, running a jaw-dropping 50.68s. Amando Duplantis surpassed his own Pole Vault record with an incredible 6.21m. All these marks were achieved in Oregon.

Looking at Miller-Uibo’s career, she has been the most consistent 400m runner in the world since 2015, winning two Olympic titles (Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020), one World title (Oregon, 2022), four Diamond League titles in the 200m and 400m, while also winning several other medals in these events during these years.

She has a 200m PB of 21.74s and 48.36s in the 400m. To achieve her set goals, the 28-year-old will have to smash her lifetime bests, while also aiming at defeating the best in these events.

For example, in the 200m, she has to overcome the World Champion, Jackson, and Olympic Champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, who each have PBs of 21.45s and 21.53s (the second and third fastest times in history), while not forgetting Gabrielle Thomas with 21.61s (fourth fastest in history).

McLaughlin-Levrone has also said she may focus on the 400m. Last year, after running her 400mH WR, the American followed it up by anchoring the US team to another 4x400m victory with a blazing split time of 47.91s. By comparison, no other runner in the field ran a split time faster than 49.39s.

It means the hurdler has a good chance of breaking the WR in the one-lap event if she decides to focus on the event. If she does, Miller-Uibo will have another big competitor in her favourite event.

The development and growth of athletics in the past decade have been mind-blowing, considering the ease with which athletes have been attaining new feats.

As the saying goes: “Records are set to be broken”. More sprinters are getting closer to breaking the women’s WR in the 100m, 200m, and 400m each year, which means that sooner rather than later, these records will go.

If Miller-Uibo has her sights set on attaining these rare feats, then she has almost certainly got something magical up her sleeves and significantly, the talent to run these times.

While many may argue she is past her peak considering her age, who says we cannot have another Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who, like old wine, got better with time?

Also, there are talks about the new technology in footwear and spikes, which has proven that the advanced technology companies now use on their products makes athletes run faster than in the olden days of the '70s and '80s.

Miller-Uibo is signed with Adidas, the same as Amusan. After running her WR, many insinuated that the Nigerian's time was scientifically aided by her spikes. Not that it mattered though; after all, Harrison was putting on the same spikes in the same race.

A lot also improves yearly with training programmes, nutrition, training equipment, environmental factors, and advanced track surfaces, such as there will be at the newly installed Mondo track in Budapest. These are all significant advantages.

So the Bahamian has several edges over her predecessors in attempting the double WR, all of which can aid her quest. Whatever happens, athletics and sports fans in general should anticipate many more years of incredible performances and records from the world’s best athletes.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Pulse Sports

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