World Track and Field Championships

Déjà vu for Warholm, Ingebrigtsen


Photo: Beate Oma Dahle / NTB
THE VIKING ROARS AGAIN: A victorious Karsten Warholm proudly displays the Norwegian flag.

Michael Kleiner
Business & Sports Editor
The Norwegian American

For Karsten Warholm and Jakob Ingebrigtsen, it was déjà vu at the World Track and Field Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 19-27.

For Warholm, 27, win the 400m hurdles, grab the Norwegian flag, drape himself in it, pose for pictures with American rival Rai Benjamin, draped in the American flag. Make a few screams.

In the Aug. 23 final, Warholm pulled away from Benjamin as they went into the final turn. Warholm burst forward, crossing the finish line in 46.89 as the British broadcaster on the American telecast, Leigh Diffey, shouted, “The Viking roars again!  There’s no stopping him!”

Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands caught Benjamin for the silver (47.34) and Benjamin (47.56) settled for bronze. Warholm had a hamstring injury last year, which resulted in a seventh-place finish at worlds after gold in 2019 and 2021.

“I feel this is where it (the WC title) belongs. I know there were seven others in the heat who disagreed with that. It feels incredibly good to have the gold around my neck again,” Warholm told NRK.

Nearly an hour before, Ingebrigtsen, 22, endured a different fate in his favorite race–1,500m.

Ingebrigtsen was in the back at the start. At the first turn, he pulled up to leader Kenya’s Abel Kipsang. At the homestretch turn of the first lap, Ingebrigtsen was in a group at the front. At the next turn, Ingebrigtsen widened the lead. As the bell lap started, Josh Kerr, who Ingebrigtsen beat in their heat of the semis, gained on Ingebrigtsen. They were shoulder to shoulder. Ingebrigtsen attempted to push in the homestretch, but Kerr was gaining momentum and passed Ingebrigtsen in the last 20-30m, winning by 0.27 (3:29.38 to 3:29.65). Fellow Sandnes native Narve Gilje Nordås finished third (3:29.68), narrowly missing passing Ingebrigtsen.

This was the second straight year Ingebrigtsen lost the 1,500m world championship to a Brit (Jake Wightman) and was also goldless in 2019.

He couldn’t consult with his father, Gjert, who quit as coach of him and his brothers, Henrik and Filip, then took on Nordås, infuriating the brothers.

“I took Jakob by the hand, and he took me back,” Nordås told NTB. “We can call that good communication. I am satisfied that he responded.

“I couldn’t be more pleased (with the medal). I drank a bit too much coffee before the start so I wasn’t sure if I would make it to the finish line without taking a break. I noticed that it started to loosen with two laps to go. Then it was just a matter of passing and passing until there were no more people left.”

The 5,000m final was on the last day, Aug. 27. At 800m, Kenya’s Ishmael Rokitto Kipkurui took the lead, widening it to 5.96 seconds until 1,400m. Nordås was 11th, Ingebrigtsen 15th. A 100m later, Mohamed Ismael (Djibouti) took the lead. Kikusui took the lead back, built a margin of 6.28 seconds until the 2,500m point. Meanwhile, Ingebrigtsen was 13th. Ethiopians Berihu Aregawi and Hagos Gebrhiwet had overtaken Kipkurui and were neck-and-neck 1-2 through the 3,900m point. Ingebrigtsen finally made a move and was fifth at 4,000m, 0.52 behind Aregawi. Gebrhiwet had slid to sixth and Luis Grijalva (Guatemala) had moved into second, Jacob Krop (Kenya) third. At 4,300m it was Grijalva, Aregawi, Jimmy Gressier (France), Krop, Ingebrigtsen, Yomif Kejelcha (Ethiopia) and Mohamed Katir (Spain), separated by 0.60. With 300m left, Ingebrigtsen was still fifth, 0.43 from leader Gebrhiwet, 0.39 behind second-place Katir. With 200m left, it was now Katir-Ingebrigtsen 1-2 separated by 0.39. Ingebrigtsen leaned at the finish to win the gold over Katir with a season-best 13:11.30. Katir’s time was 13:11.44, Krop took bronze (13:12.28). Kipkurui had expended too much and finished 10th.

For the second straight year, Ingebrigtsen won gold in the 5,000m after losing in the 1,500m. He took his turn with the Norwegian flag.

“In the last 200 meters, I was a little unsure if it would be possible,” said Ingebrigtsen, who was ill during his time in Budapest, to the print media. “Then, I knew that if I got his back all the way to the last 50 and then tried to make a move, I could win.”

He added to NRK: “It’s incredibly big, but I don’t feel quite well. I sensed a fantastic atmosphere on the last lap. I got a lot of help from the stadium. It is frustrating to be in such a position. I’ve been dizzy all day and didn’t feel particularly well either during the warm-up or the last few days.”

Other Norwegians

Markus Rooth, 21, was 8th (8,491 pts) and Sander Skotheim, 21, 10th (8,263) in decathlon but Skotheim won the high jump (2.11m, 906 pts) and 1,500m (4:19.64, 814 pts) and was second in the long jump (personal best 7.80m). Rooth was 4th in the discus and the pole vault with a season best 48.78m and personal best 5.10m, respectively.

This article originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Michael Kleiner

Michael Kleiner, business and sports editor, has more than three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. He has operated his own PR and web design business for small businesses, authors and community organizations in Philadelphia since 1999. Not of Norwegian descent, he lived in Norway for a year with his family at age 11 and has returned as an adult. He is the author of a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, and a member of NorCham Philadelphia. Visit;