Athletics

Karsten Warholm: Eight fun things you didn't know about the 400m hurdles world champ

The Peaky Blinders, a Lego Disney Castle, losing a game of Streetfighter to the Prime Minister, there's so much more to Karsten Warholm than hurdling

By Ken Browne ·

Yes Karsten Warholm is reigning two-time 400m hurdles world champion 2017 & 2019, European champion, European indoor champion.

And yes he stole the show at the Impossible Games running the fastest 300m in history.

But did you know he's funny too?

Or that he's built the Disney Castle and Manchester United stadium Old Trafford out of Lego?

Read on to discover eight things that might surprise you about Norway's track and field athletics superstar.

1. Karsten Warholm loves lego

While being at home a lot recently, most of us have been binge-watching series and trying to avoid too much 'doomscrolling.'

Warholm has been constructing worlds, tiny Danish brick by tiny Danish brick.

"I have a thing that I love to do," he told the Diamond League recently, "and it’s building Lego. I built a lot of Lego during the pandemic and I had a good time doing that."

And what did he build?

"I built everything, I built Old Trafford, the Tower Bridge - the one in London. Now I’m building the new Lamborghini Lego. I built the Disney Castle but, in the past, I built a lot of other things, Bugatti, Porsche."

Here's his attempt at Tower Bridge in London:

Karsten hasn't shared an image of the Disney Castle, but judging from this post from David Beckham, who built one for his daughter, it doesn't look easy at all!

4,000 pieces and 490 pages of instructions, that'll eat up some lockdown time.

And speaking of David Beckham, here's Old Trafford, the famed Manchester United stadium known as 'The Theatre of Dreams' where Beckham rose to fame, in all its Lego glory.

Only 3,898 pieces.

2. Lucky lane 7 is "where the magic happens"

From football to athletics stadiums, does the track lane you run on make a difference?

It does according to Karsten Warholm and his coach Leif Olav Alnes. Warholm says lane 7 is "where the magic happens."

"It’s actually just because my coach, who is really careful, wanted me to run very far out of the bend because there is less impact on the body as the bend is wider, it’s not that hard. It’s also because he wants me to have a long career and try not to get injured." Warholm explains.

"But of course, in championships you have got to run on the lane that you get and that is not a problem for me, but if I get to choose, I will always have lane 7. It has become a thing that I’m comfortable with."

When he ran a world-beating 33.79s in the 300m hurdles at the Impossible Games, he ran it in lane 7.

3. Karsten Warholm likes dressing up

He also loves getting dressed up.

Warholm's social media is peppered with images of the hurdler and pals in costume.

At the start of the 2020 he posted a pic of them as members of a fictional Birmingham gang from a hundred years ago, making it clear that Karsten has watched Netflix hit show The Peaky Blinders.

But one image from years ago also catches the eye, with the Norwegian clearly already having a trip to Japan in mind.

4. Warholm does hilarious ads

And Warholm has a sense of humour. The Norwegian's funny side is obvious from his social media game.

When some brilliant creatives come up with something that suits his personality and get the best out of his persona, then magic happens on the screen too.

Like this piece of genius which takes his daily routine beyond all limits.

5. Over 25% of Norway watched him win in Doha

Something that is also hard to believe - in a good way - is that 1.5 million people in Norway watched him win the 400m hurdles live on Day 4 of the 2019 World Championships, "and we are only 5 million people," says Karsten. "So that is like over 25% watching it live. It’s crazy numbers."

If he was Chinese and the same proportion of the population watched, that would be more than 350 million people.

Norway loves its live sport and with the likes of Jacob Ingebrigsten and Warholm tearing up the track, they are receiving incredible support back home.

6. Lost in streetfighter to the Prime Minister

One of the people watching that night was Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Little did Warholm imagine that one day he'd face the PM in hand-to-hand combat, but that's the kind of normal that Karsten Warholm's life has become.

And while he may have lost the Streetfighter video game bout, Warholm challenged Solberg to a 400m hurdles race.

She has yet to take him up on the offer.

7. Chops wood topless in the snow

Common Norwegian practice?

Seems so according to his caption: "A normal Sunday morning! Thanks for the ride guys." And uses the hashtag #freethenipple

So he's an activist too.

8. Has a coach who's at least as funny as he is

Karsten Warholm has a brilliant relationship with his coach and "best friend" Leif Olav Alnes.

"If you invest 10 years of your life racking up all these training hours, you need to be friends," Warholm told IAAF's Spikes.

"Our relationship is like a typical boys’ friendship," Warholm continued, "we mock each other, we have a lot of fun together, and we share the same humour."

"It’s like we’re the same age mentally – whatever age that is," says Karsten, "whether it’s five years or 50, that’s up to you to decide!"

Sometimes it's even hard to spot the difference.