Rio Olympic Games – Track & Field Day 4: Jebet wins gold medal in 3000m Steeplechase

Ruth Jebet in dominating fashion claimed victory in the 3000m Steeplechase final in Rio on 15-August, earning the first gold medal among Personae-managed athletes competing at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Ruth Jebet‘s gold medal performance in Rio was truly dominating, in every sense of the word.  While the 3000m Steeplechase field featured all the season’s top performers, including no. 1 Jebet (8:59.97), no. 2 and ’15 IAAF world champion Hyvin Kiyeng Kipkemoi (9:00.1), and no. 3 Emma Coburn (9:10.76), as well as ’12 London Games champion Habiba Ghribi, Kenyan Olympic Trials runner-up Beatrice Chepkoech, and ’16 European champion Gesa Krause, the anticipated close contest for the gold medal never materialized.  

After positioning herself near the front of the pack through the first two laps, Jebet took the lead after the second water jump and literally never looked back.  Passing the 1000m mark in 3:05.93 with Kiyeng, Chepkoech, and Coburn in close pursuit, Jebet went on to increase the gap on her pursuers with every lap, thanks in great part to a second kilometer split of 2:54.13 and the clock showing 6:00.06 at 2000m – just off world record pace.  Having disposed of her competition, Jebet’s challenge over the remaining two laps was to pursue the world record that she had just missed earlier in the season at the Eugene Diamond League meeting.  However, the aggressive second kilometer resulted in a somewhat slower third kilometer split of 2:59.69, giving Jebet a time of 8:59.75 as she crossed the finish line as Olympic champion.  The time again missed Gulnara Galkina’s steeplechase world record, this time by a scant 0.94 seconds, but still improved Jebet’s own Asian record, and she now owns two of history’s top-3 women’s steeple performances.  

Behind Jebet, a back-and-forth battle between Kiyeng, Chepkoech, and Coburn ended with Kiyeng taking the silver medal (9:07.12), just edging bronze medalist Coburn (9:07.63 American Record).  Further back, Krause ran a very conservative race, staying in the pack through the majority of the past-paced race.  After unleashing her signature strong kick at the finish, Krause placed 6th in a personal best time of 9:18.14, which finally established a new German Record, which she had just missed on several occasions over the past two seasons.

In other Olympic finals action on 15-August, Ferguson Rotich finished 5th in the 800m with a season best time of 1:43.55, moving him to no. 7 on the ’16 season performers chart.  While Alfred Kipketer finished 7th (1:46.02), his opening lap of 49.23 helped lead out David Rudisha‘s successful defense of his ’12 London Olympic title, winning the Rio final with a ’16 world leading time of 1:42.15.

Five additional Personae athletes competed competed in opening rounds of events in Rio on Day 4. with only Michael Bultheel advancing in the 400m Hurdles as a time qualifier in 6th place (49.37 season best).  Athletes failing to advance in their heats were John Koech in in the 3000m Steeplechase (6th in 8:28.81); Nelson Kipkogei in the 3000m Steeplechase (9th in 8:35.87); Jeroen D’Hoedt in the 3000m Steeplechase (13th in 8:48.29); and Axelle Dauwens in the 400m Hurdles (57.68).


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