Tokyo Olympics 2020: Sebastian Coe has his say on super spikes and their impact on athletics

World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe insists shoe innovation cannot be stopped but doubts if super spikes will really separate athletes.

Norway's Karsten Warholm, right, crosses the finish line to win the Olympic 400m and break the world record ahead of second-placed Rai Benjamin of the USA. Picture: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Karsten Warholm and Sydney McLaughlin smashed their own world records in Tokyo the 400m hurdles to claim Olympic titles.

Rai Benjamin and Dalilah Muhammad, who finished second in the men and women’s races, also beat the old records while double champion Elaine Thompson-Herah claimed an Olympic record in the 100m and a national record in the 200m.

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Super spikes, which offer runners a platform of a carbon plate and foam to help propel them, have been credited with aiding times but Coe remains unsure if it will change the landscape.

Silver medallist Rai Benjamin, left, and gold medallist Karsten Warholm following the men's 400m hurdles. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

He said: “I just think we are in a world of innovation. I don’t want to strangle the innovation that shoe companies our manufacturers are bringing to the table.

“There is a balance – of course there is a balance. We’ve got a system that evaluates the shoes.

“The principle I’ve always tried to maintain is a level playing field and I think we’re going to get to the point where there isn’t a massive advantage in whatever brand you wear.”

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Warholm criticised Benjamin’s Nike footwear and labelled them “b********” after their race on Tuesday although confirmed he was working with Puma and the Mercedes F1 team on his own shoe.

He felt it was wrong Nike athletes could run in a slab of responsive Pebax foam in sprint spikes and felt they were taking the credibility away from the spot.

Coe added: “What he’s basically saying is he has a shoe with the technology that suits him. The other technology that is available clearly doesn’t suit him, because if it did then he would have it.”

The track in Tokyo has also been given credit for the fast times. Andrea Vallauri, track designer for Mondo, has said it gives athletes a performance edge of one to two per cent but, again, Coe does not believe it has changed the established order.

“It’s fast. It’s clearly fast. How do I view it? I’m viewing really talented athletes who are probably running quicker on fast surfaces,” he said, speaking at the Olympic Stadium.

“I don’t think we’re seeing any dramatic change in order. Warholm is running fast but we’ve always known he’s running fast and he’s probably run a little bit quicker on this track.

“So has Sydney, Dalilah, Rai. For as long as I can remember we’ve had conversations about tracks that are fast and tracks that aren’t. I avoided tracks that I knew weren’t fast.”

Warholm was not impressed by Nike’s super spikes, citing the performance of US hurdler Benjamin who won silver behind the Norwegian.

“He had those things in his shoes, which I hate,” Warholm said of Benjamin. “I don’t see why you should put anything beneath a sprinting shoe. In the middle distance, I can understand it because of the cushioning.

“If you want cushioning, you can put a mattress there. But if you put a trampoline I think it’s b*******, and I think it takes credibility away from our sport.”