The world's most-dominant track star called Nike's new spikes 'bulls---' and compared them to rivals having trampolines in their shoes

Advertisement
The world's most-dominant track star called Nike's new spikes 'bulls---' and compared them to rivals having trampolines in their shoes
Warholm said it was like his opponent had a trampoline on his shoes Roger Sedres/Gallo Images
  • Olympic 400 meter hurdle champion Karsten Warholm has labelled new Nike spike technology "bulls---."
  • Warholm's closest rival Rai Benjamin wore a pair of Nike's controversial Air Zoom Victory shoes in the final.
  • Norway's Warholm said it was like Benjamin was running with a trampoline under his feet.

Karsten Warholm, the winner of the Tokyo Olympics men's 400 meter hurdles, has criticized his opponent's shoes and called the technology in them "bulls---."

Norway's Warholm defeated Team USA's Rai Benjamin to take gold in the event in a new world record time during a race described by many as one of the greatest in history.

Despite the victory, however, he was critical of the Nike running shoes worn by Benjamin during the race.

Advertisement

Benjamin is one of a number of athletes at the Tokyo Games to be using Nike's latest sprint spike technology, wearing a pair of Nike Air Zoom Victory shoes in the race.

The shoes draw heavily on the company's controversial Vaporfly long-distance running shoes. They feature a carbon fibre plate, a highly springy foam layer, and a large air pocket, with the aim of providing both rigidity and spring for athletes, leading to more efficient running.

It is believed that the Vaporflys can knock between one and three seconds per mile off a distance runner's time, Insider's Aylin Woodward reported previously.

Advertisement

The world's most-dominant track star called Nike's new spikes 'bulls---' and compared them to rivals having trampolines in their shoes
Rai Benjamin's Nike running shoes during the Tokyo Olympics Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Vaporfly technology has been used for years by many of the world's top distance runners, including Eliud Kipchoge, the world marathon record holder, who in 2019 ran an unofficial marathon in under two hours.

It has just now started to trickle into sprint competitions, where the advantages to be gained are significantly smaller, but still believed to be substantial.

"He had those things in his shoes, which I hate," Warholm said of his opponent, who would have won gold and broken the previous world record had the Norwegian not been competing.

Advertisement

"I don't see why you should put anything beneath a sprinting shoe. In middle distance I can understand it because of the cushioning. If you want cushioning, you can put a mattress there.

"But if you put a trampoline I think it's bulls---, and I think it takes credibility away from our sport."

The world's most-dominant track star called Nike's new spikes 'bulls---' and compared them to rivals having trampolines in their shoes
Karsten Warholm in his record-breaking 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics. Getty/Wang Lili/Xinhua

Warholm acknowledged that he too is using technologically advanced shoes, having worked with the Mercedes Formula One team and Puma to create his own racing spike, but insisted it was different to the Nike shoe.

Advertisement

"Yes, we have the carbon plate but we have tried to make it as thin as possible. Because that is the way I would like to do it.

"Of course technology will always be there. But I also want to keep it down to a level where we can compare results because that is important," he said.

Warholm is not the only big name athlete to criticize the new spike technology, with Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter of all time, taking aim at the shoes before the Olympics started.

Advertisement

When I was told about it I couldn't believe that this is what we have gone to," Bolt said in an interview with Reuters.

"You know what I mean, that we are really adjusting the spikes to a level where it's now giving athletes an advantage to run even faster."

"It's weird and unfair for a lot of athletes," Bolt added.

Advertisement
{{}}