If our constant, mysterious evolution inspires and reassures it did both in Tokyo yesterday. To say Norway’s Karsten Warholm set a new world record in the 400m hurdles is hopelessly inadequate; he, as the cliche suggests, rewrote the record books.
In 45.94 seconds, the 25-year-old Warholm pushed the boundaries of what we imagine ourselves capable of in a way hardly seen since the first sub-four-minute mile was run 67 years ago. To give the Norwegian's new benchmark some context the Irish record in that event is 47.97.
If the chequered history of Olympic champions raises all too obvious, unavoidable, and sordid questions there is no suggestion that yesterday's performance was compromised. Neither are there questions about another performance at the games yesterday.
Simones Biles recovery from her difficulties to secure a bronze medal underlines two of the qualities that drive evolution — human fortitude and ambition.
Inspiring performances in what are, despite the circumstances, inspiring games.