Wayde van Niekerk dashed toward the finish line at Sunday’s Adidas Boost Boston Games, as hundreds of fans lining the outside of the erected track cheered loudly. His running coach, Ans Botha, watched calmly, her hands clasped together at her waist.


Van Niekerk rocketed to an early lead that he would never relinquish in the 200 meters. Botha’s smile turned to a dropped jaw once she saw 19.84 seconds appear on the video board beside van Niekerk’s name. He had only missed the world record by less than two-thirds of a second.