Oliver Hoare. Remember the name.
The Australian middle distance runner went into a New York meet over the weekend as a relative unknown, but he left it as the talk of the athletics world.
Hoare powered home in the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix to smash Stewart McSweyn's national and Oceania records in the 1500m with a winning time of 3:32.35.
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Astonishingly, it was the seventh fastest time ever recorded in the event, catapulting the Sydneysider into Olympic Games reckoning.
In a classy field that included Scottish runner-up Jake Wightman, who finished fifth at the 2019 world championships, and Kiwi star Nick Willis, the Aussie's incredible turn of speed in the final stages of the race saw him finish comfortably in front.
Hoare barely rated a mention from one commentator until the closing stages when he put the foot down and blew his fellow competitors away.
When the 24-year-old Aussie clocked in at 3:32.35 it left the commentator lost for words.
"Wow", was about all he could utter as the enormity of Hoare's incredible run sunk in.
Fans on social media were equally gobsmacked by the young Aussie's remarkable feat.
3:32.35 by Oliver Hoare puts him 7th on the indoor all-time list! Crazy.
— James Rhodes (@James_Athletics) February 13, 2021
AMAZING run by Oliver Hoare at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Olli broke the Australian 1500m indoor record, clocking 3:32.35. Check out the race footage...https://t.co/hx3cbR9w2L
— Runner's Tribe (@runnerstribe) February 14, 2021
Both the mile and 'metric' mile Aussie indoor records fell this weekend as Oliver Hoare served up a major bombshell tearing away from Jake Wightman over the last 300m to a thorough win in 3:32.35, going seventh in the all-time indoor lists, to 3:34.48 (iPB) over the men's 1500m.
— Costas Goulas (@LsabreAvenger) February 14, 2021
@ScottMorrisonMP Australian Athletic Runner Oliver Hoare wins race in USA becomes 7th Fastest in History WOW !
— TonyR (@TonyR76106085) February 15, 2021
Oliver Hoare 3:32?!?!?!
— Jacob Conrod (@jacob_conrod) February 13, 2021
— Johanna Gretschel (@jojo_shea) February 13, 2021
So many good Australian performances recently. Did you see Oliver Hoare's run today? 3:32 indoors! Last lap was incredible.
— Elliot Carr (@ElliotJCarr) February 14, 2021
Insane time well inside Olympic qualifying mark
Hoare's extraordinary time, as well as breaking several domestic records, would see him better the tough Olympic qualifying mark by a whopping three seconds.
"I love running indoors, even though I'm an Australian," Hoare said afterwards.
"I just really wanted to run under that Olympic standard (3:35.00)."
Hoare's blistering display has seen him touted as Australian athletics' next big medal hope in the men's 1500m.
Olympic great Herb Elliot claimed gold in the same event at the Rome 1960 Games, but no Aussie man has even managed to medal in 1500m since.
While the excitement around Hoare's Olympic prospects are completely justified, a quirk in Athletics Australia's (AA) section policy means he's by no means guaranteed of a ticket to the Tokyo Games later in the year.
AA gives preference to its track and field stars competing in the upcoming Australian Track and Field Titles in April, when it comes to selecting the squad to compete at the Olympic Games.
The unfortunate quirk means that if three local runners finish under the Olympic qualifying time in April, then Hoare will likely miss out on selection.
It was an incredible weekend for Australia's middle-distance runners, with Charlie Hunter and Morgan McDonald also breaking national records.
Competing at the Tyson Invitational meet at the University of Arkansas, 24-year-old Hunter bettered two national marks in the space of 24 hours.
He got the ball rolling by clocking three minutes 53.49 seconds in the mile on Saturday (AEDT).
But the New South Welshman's back-up performance was even better.
Hunter won the 800m in 1:45.59 to strip more than a second off the Australian and Oceania records previously held by Joseph Deng.
McDonald clocked the fastest indoor two-mile time by an Australian with 8:14.92.
It was further proof of the impressive depth in Australia's male middle-distance running stocks less than six months out from the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
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