Rai Benjamin
2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships (28886958248).jpg
Personal information
NationalityAmerican[1][2]
Born (1997-07-27) July 27, 1997 (age 24)
Mount Vernon, New York
Height1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)[3]
Weight77 kg (170 lb)[3]
Sport
CountryUnited States[1][2]
SportTrack and field
Event(s)Hurdling, sprinting
College teamUSC Trojans (2018)
UCLA Bruins (2016, 2017)
TeamNike[4]
Turned pro2018[4]
Coached byJoanna Hayes[2]
Quincy Watts[2]
Caryl Smith Gilbert[2]
Achievements and titles
World finals
  • 2019 Doha
  • 400 m hurdles,  Silver
Olympic finals
  • 2020 Tokyo
  • 400 m hurdles,  Silver
Personal best(s)

Rai Benjamin (born July 27, 1997) is an American professional hurdler and sprinter specializing in the 400 m and 400 m hurdles. He is the second fastest man in history in the 400 m hurdles with a personal best time of 46.17 s. He won a silver medal at his first Olympic Games in 2021 and at the World Championships in 2019 in the men's 400 m hurdles, and gold medals in the 4 × 400 m relay at the same competitions.

In college Benjamin ran for the UCLA Bruins and then the USC Trojans, where in early 2018 he was part of the team that set the world best time in the indoor 4 × 400 m relay with a time of 3:00.77. At the time, his relay split time of 44.35 s was the fastest ever recorded in an indoor race. In June of the same year he also helped set the NCAA record in the same event but outdoors, and ran what was at the time the second fastest 400 m hurdles race of all-time in 47.02 s.

Early life and career

Rai Benjamin, from Mount Vernon High School (New York), was the fastest 2015 prep time in the United States in the 400m hurdles with a time of 49.97, fastest 400 m indoor time in the country with a 46.59 and the third fastest outdoor time 46.19.

Benjamin won the 2015 New York Indoor State meet with a national leading time of 33.17 in the 300 meters. He was a three-time New York State Public High School Athletic Association champion in the 400m hurdles.

He was the 2015 New Balance 400 meters National Champion and the 2015 New Balance Outdoor 400-meter hurdles National Champion.[8]

Just after completing his second year, he represented Antigua and Barbuda at the 2013 World Youth Championships. Just after graduating, he won a silver medal in the 400 meters at the 2015 CARIFTA Games.

Benjamin wanted to run for the USA, since he was born in New York,[9] but at the 2013 World Youth Championships in Athletics, he represented Antigua in the 400 m hurdles.[10]

In 2017, the IAAF suspended all transfers of allegiance, meaning Benjamin could not represent the United States until transfers were reinstated in summer 2018.[11] In October 2018, Benjamin's transfer request was approved, allowing him to represent the United States abroad and compete in USATF Championship events.[1]

At the 2018 Meeting Areva in Paris, he ran 19.99 in the 200 meters to take .65 of a second off his previous personal best.[6][7][12] He became the 72nd person to break 20 seconds,[13] in what is perhaps his third best event on the track.

At the 2019 Mt. SAC Relays, that year at El Camino College in Torrance, California, Benjamin joined his training partner and previous college teammate, Michael Norman running the 400 meters. Benjamin ran his personal best of 44.31, the 50th best time in history[14] behind Norman's 43.45, which turned out to be the fastest 400 run in the 2019 season and tied him as the 4th fastest of all time.[15]

College career

Benjamin is a three-time NCAA Division I track champion. As a college student-athlete, Benjamin earned three Pac-12 conference titles, one Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title, and eight NCAA Division I All-America honors (five outdoor, three indoor).

Benjamin's All-America honors were for these accomplishments:

Year Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Indoor track and field
NCAA
Indoor
Pac-12 Conference
Outdoor
NCAA Division I
Outdoor track and field
Representing the University of Southern California[16][17]
2018 200 m 3rd
20.34
400 m hurdles 1st
48.46
400 m hurdles 1st
47.02
CR
400 m 1st
45.94
4x400 m 1st
3:00.77
CR
4x100 m 1st
39.38
4x400 m 1st
2:59.00
2017 4x400 m 5th
3:12.50
4x400 4th
3:09.39
4x100 22nd
39.89
400 6th
47.06
400 m hurdles 1st
49.52
400 m hurdles 2nd
48.33
200 m 3rd
21.09
Representing the University of California, Los Angeles[18][19]
2016 400 m 7th
47.57
400 m hurdles
52.21
400 m hurdles 6th
49.82
DMR 7th
9:34.39
4x100 m 4th
40.22

Personal life

Benjamin is the son of West Indies international and Antiguan cricketer Winston Benjamin.[9][20]

Statistics

Information from World Athletics profile unless otherwise noted.[21]

Personal bests

Surface Event Time Venue Date Notes
Outdoor 400 m hurdles 46.17 Tokyo, Japan August 3, 2021 AR, #2 all-time
400 m 44.31 Torrance, California, U.S. April 20, 2019
200 m 19.99 Paris, France June 30, 2018 −0.6 m/s wind
100 m 10.03 Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. July 20, 2020 +1.6 m/s wind
4×400 m relay 2:55.70 Tokyo, Japan August 7, 2021 2021 world lead
Indoor 400 m 45.39 New York, New York, U.S. February 13, 2021
300 m 32.35 New York, New York, U.S. February 8, 2020
200 m 20.34 College Station, Texas, U.S. March 10, 2018
4×400 m relay 3:00.77 College Station, Texas, U.S. March 10, 2018 World best[note 1]

International championship results

Representing  Antigua and Barbuda (2013–2015) and the  United States (2019–Present)
Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
2013 World Youth Championships Donetsk, Ukraine 15th 400 m hurdles 52.36
2015 CARIFTA Games (U20) Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2nd 400 m 46.19 PB
World Relays Nassau, Bahamas DNF (semi 1) 4×200  m relay
2019 World Championships Doha, Qatar 2nd 400 m hurdles 47.66
1st 4×400  m relay 2:56.69 WL, PB
2021 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 2nd 400 m hurdles 46.17 PB AR
1st 4x400 m relay 2:55.70 SB

Circuit wins

National championship results

Representing the UCLA Bruins (2016–2017), the USC Trojans (2018), and Nike (2019–2021)
Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
2016 NCAA Division I Championships Eugene, Oregon 6th 400 m hurdles 49.82 PB
2017 NCAA Division I Championships Eugene, Oregon 2nd 400 m hurdles 48.33 PB
22nd 4×100 m relay 39.89
2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships College Station, Texas 3rd 200 m 20.34 PB
1st 4×400 m relay 3:00.77 WB[note 1]
NCAA Division I Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 400 m hurdles 47.02 WL, CR, PB[9]
1st 4×400 m relay 2:59.00 CR, PB
2019 U.S. Championships Des Moines, Iowa 1st 400 m hurdles 47.23
2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 1st 400 m hurdles 46.83 WL, MR, PB, #3 all-time

Seasonal bests

Year 400 m hurdles 400 m 200 m
2013 53.95 49.55 22.38
2014 51.86 47.17 20.88
2015 49.97 46.19 21.09
2016 49.82 47.57 21.17
2017 48.33 45.72 20.64
2018 47.02 44.74 19.99
2019 46.98 44.31
2021 46.17 44.97

Notes

  1. ^ a b Shared with Zach Shinnick, Ricky Morgan, and Michael Norman for the USC Trojans. Because Rai Benjamin was not cleared to represent the United States with his American teammates until after the race, the time was not recognized by the IAAF as the official world record.[22]

References

  1. ^ a b c Sully, Kevin (October 4, 2018). "Rai Benjamin Cleared To Tompete for the US". milesplit.com. FloSports, Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lindstrom, Sieg (January 19, 2019). "New Flag, New Beginning for Rai Benjamin". trackandfieldnews.com. Track & Field News. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Rai Benjamin". eurosport.com. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Sully, Kevin (June 14, 2018). "Rai Benjamin is Now a Nike Athlete". flotrack.org. FloSports, Inc. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  5. ^ Wharton, David (April 20, 2019). "Mt. SAC Relays' road show ends with some top marks, including Michael Norman's 400 win". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Rowbottom, Mike (July 1, 2018). "Norman and Benjamin the latest starts to shine in the IAAF Diamond League". iaaf.org. IAAF. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Zaccardi, Nick (June 30, 2018). "Abderrahman Samba runs second-fastest 400m hurdles ever (video)". nbcsports.com. NBC. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  8. ^ track ucla mount vernon rai benjamin
  9. ^ a b c Burke, Timothy (June 8, 2018). "Rai Benjamin Runs 47.02 400m Hurdles, Tied For Second-Fastest in Human History". deadspin.com. Deadspin. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  10. ^ "400m hurdles (84.0 cm) Boys semi-final results".
  11. ^ "Transfer of Allegiance".
  12. ^ 2018 Paris Diamond League 200 m
  13. ^ "200 Metres - men - senior - outdoor".
  14. ^ "400 Metres - men - senior - outdoor".
  15. ^ "400 Metres - men - senior - outdoor".
  16. ^ "Rai Benjamin at USC". Track & Field Results Reporting System (TFRRS). Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  17. ^ Rai Benjamin USC profile University of Southern California. June 30, 2018
  18. ^ Rai Benjamin UCLA track results TFRRS. June 30, 2018
  19. ^ Rai Benjamin UCLA profile University of California Los Angeles. June 30, 2018
  20. ^ Levy, Leighton (October 4, 2018). "Antiguan star athlete Rai Benjamin switches allegiance to USA". sportsmax.tv. SportsMaxTV. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  21. ^ "ATHLETE PROFILE Rai BENJAMIN". World Athletics. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  22. ^ Joe Fleming (March 12, 2018). "World, collegiate records highlight NCAA indoor track and field championships". usatoday.com. USA Today. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  23. ^ "RAI BENJAMIN UCLA". tfrrs.org. Track & Field Results Reporting System. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  24. ^ "RAI BENJAMIN USC". tfrrs.org. Track & Field Results Reporting System. Retrieved February 20, 2019.

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