Alison dos Santos: Brazil Star Who Survived 3rd Degree Burns, Beat Karsten Warholm and Crowned World Champion

Alison dos Santos: Brazil Star Who Survived 3rd Degree Burns, Beat Karsten Warholm and Crowned World Champion

Martin Moses
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:07 PM
  • Alison Dos Santos floored a packed field of superstars to become the new World champion of the 400 metres hurdles
  • Dos Santos has a painful childhood memory after a hot pan of oil fell on him, leaving him with scars that he has to date
  • Among those he beat to claim Gold in Oregon include the World record holder and Olympic champion Karsten Warholm

Karsten Warholm had been widely expected to shake off his hamstring injury and bag the 400 metres hurdles title at the World Athletics Championships.

It was just last year when the Norwegian completely obliterated the field at the Tokyo Olympics to set a new world record of 45.94 seconds.

Injuries slightly hampered his preparations for the Oregon Games, but after a decent showing in the Heats, many expected him to match his world record and Olympic title with a World title.

But one Alison Dos Santos had other plans. The Brazilian finished third at the Tokyo Olympics and is the third-fastest man in the history of the race. As soon as the gun went off in Oregon, Warholm looked destined to match to victory.

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But on the last bend, with less than 150 metres to go, Dos Santos stepped up, jumping over the hurdles like a trout on a Mayfly. Even more surprising was the reduction in the pace of Warholm, who ended up finishing a disappointing seventh.

Alison Dos Santos, Brazil, Karsten Warholm, 400 metres hurdles, Rai Benjamin
Alison dos Santos of Team Brazil celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 400m Hurdles Final. Photo by Hannah Peters.
Source: Getty Images

Dos Santos upgraded his last year's Bronze medal with Gold in the USA, but it is his scars that someone will notice first. When he was 10 months old, a hot pan of oil fell on his head, leaving him with third-degree burns, as Folha De Paulo reports.

The now 22-year-old spent his first birthday in a hospital bed. He was shy to step out in public, but at 19 years, he was convinced to switch from Judo to Athletics. It is a decision that has since paid off since, apart from his global medals, he is also the fastest man in South America in the races.

He beat a star-studded field in Oregon that also had Warholm's main rival, Rai Benjamin. Benjamin claimed silver as his American compatriot Trevor Bassitt bagged bronze.

Dos Santos has now immersed himself in the Benjamin-Warholm rivalry that has often sold the sport to audiences.

How Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce went on from running barefoot to becoming the greatest sprinter in history

Sports Brief also did a story of how Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will go down in history as one of the greatest sprinters ever, male or female, is no longer in question.

The only thing she hasn't been able to do in the women's 100 metres is to break the long-standing record of Florence Griffith-Joyner, which was set in 1988. Flo-Jo used a whopping 10.49 seconds in a 100-metre dash at the U.S Olympic trials, and no one has broken that record more than three decades later.

But Fraser-Pryce has gone ahead to write her own history. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she grew up in a violence-plagued environment and was raised by a single mother, Maxine Simpson. She started running barefoot while in primary school at the tender age of 10.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)