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Femke Bol’s destruction of the 40-year-old 400 metre world indoor record is generational; it was a race for the ages. Her performance at the Dutch National Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, of 49.26 was stunning to watch — how fortunate for the spectators on-site to witness the record run.

“When I crossed the line I knew that the record was mine, because of the noise that the crowd made,” Bol said.

The 22-year-old took bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“It was because of all the fans here that I ran this record,” Bol said. “Never have I ever seen that many people here.“

She took out Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilová’s 49.59 world record from Milano from 1982.

Jarmila Kratochvilová

To put into perspective how good Bol”s run was, Kratochvilová from the former Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), was so dominant, she own three of the top four times 49.54, 49.64 and 49.69. And she owned five of the top-14 in history until now. All of her performances happened during a two-year span from 1981 to 1983.

In year 2000, there was an investigation which was headed by Czech Dr. Jan Hnizdil who revealed a secret state-sponsored doping program that went on during the 1980s in Czechoslovakia. Elite athletes were forced into doping, known as the “Program of Specialised Care,” and apparently numerous athletes admitted to being doped at that time.

There was another top Czech at that time who currently has the fifth-fastest time in history at 49.76, her name is Tatána Kocembová. Shades of Ma’s Army in China.

Kratochvílová also owns the second and 12th fastest outdoor times at 47.99 and 48.45, both from 1983. However Marita Koch of the East German systematic doping program owns the outdoors world record at 47.60 and 15 of the top 47 performances in history — all from the same era. At least 25 of the top 50 times in history have been acheived by athletes in state-sponsored doping programs.