Vivian Cheruiyot and Hellen Obiri Kenya finished 1st (14:26) and 2nd (14:29) place, respectively, on Women’s 5,000m. Ethiopian Almaz Ayana clocked 14:33 to finish 3rd.
By Liam Boylan-Pett (SB Nation) |
Almaz Ayana was about to stamp her greatness on Rio. She led by a wide margin with less than a mile to go in the 5,000 meters. Then she fell apart, and the Kenyans took advantage. Vivian Cheruiyot overtook Ayana and blew by her to win Olympic gold while setting an Olympic record of 14:26.
Hellen Obiri passed Ayana as well to win the silver in 14:29 for a 1-2 Kenyan finish — they had never even won gold — as Ayana held on for bronze in 14:33.
After winning the 10,000 meters on Aug. 12 in a world record, Ayana was unable to deliver again. She had run 14:31 for the final half of that 10,000 race, so Tirunesh Dibaba’s world record of 14:11 seemed in jeopardy. Dibaba was the last runner to complete the 10,000/5,000 double, winning both events in 2008. It wasn’t meant to be for Ayana, however.
Ayana bided her time in the 5,000, running behind a Japanese runner through the first four laps before taking off with 3,400 meters to go. A chase pack of Kenyans did their best to stay close, but the race appeared over.
All of a sudden, though, the Kenyans started reeling her in, and in stunning fashion. Cheruiyot blew by her on her way to a shocking gold.
Ayana led eight different runners — including herself — to national records in the 10,000 meters, but she couldn’t do it again, even though Vivian Cheruiyot broke the Olympic record.
Shelby Houlihan, the only U.S. runner in the field, took 11th place. Abbey D’Agostino had been accepted into the final after falling in the preliminary and going viral, but she didn’t race because she tore her ACL after the fall — making it even more remarkable that she finished the final mile of the race.
Source: SB Nation
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