South African native Wayde van Niekerk is the current 400m world record holder and he wore a Richard Mille RM27-02 while doing that at the recent Olympics in Rio. The 24-year-old sprinter is one of the newest ambassadors for Richard Mille.
On the 14 August 2016, Wayde made headlines by crossing the finish line over 400 metres in 43”03, fifteen hundredths of a second faster than the world record set in 1999 by Michael Johnson.
“It was a massacre,” said Johnson, who won two Olympic 400m titles. “Van Niekerk is so young, what else can he do? Can he go under 43 seconds? It is something I thought I could do, but never did. Usain Bolt will be retiring soon, this could be the next star,” he added.
Van Niekerk spent several months in Jamaica training with Bolt and his coach, Glen Mills. “He’s very fast and keeps on going,” said Bolt, who claimed he had predicted Van Niekerk would break the world record. “I wasn’t really surprised he got it.”
After beginning his career as an athlete in the high jump—a family tradition—it was in junior school, playing rugby, that Wayde discovered his aptitude for sprinting. And it was in October 2012, at the University of Bloemfontein where he was enrolled, that the marketing student signed up for a training group with Anna-Sophia Botha, who encouraged him to focus on the 400 metre race and still coaches him today.
By Debby Kwong