Olympic Women’s 1500 —There Won’t Be A Golden Triple

Sifan Hassan’s dream of triple gold ended when she couldn’t hold off winner Faith Kipyegon or Laura Muir. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

LOST IN ALL THE HYPE surrounding Sifan Hassan’s triple-gold quest in the 1500/5000/10,000 was how the actual favorite in the 1500, defending champion Faith Kipyegon, would deal with the kick the Dutchwoman exhibited during her last lap sprints in the 5000 and after her tumble and remarkable recovery in the 1500 heats, even though she had convincingly run away from Hassan in Monaco a few weeks prior.

The heat, humidity and rounds may have taken their toll on Hassan, but Kipyegon was the one who didn’t wilt. The 27-year-old Kenyan patiently waited to pounce and impressively strode away from the field in an Olympic Record 3:53.11.

From the get-go newly minted 5000 champion Hassan wasted little time setting a quick pace, unlike her tactics in the 5000 and 1500 heats and semis where she would linger toward the rear. As she entered the homestraight on lap 1, she was in the lead followed, not surprisingly, by Kipyegon and Great Britain’s Laura Muir. 300m was passed in 46.6 and the 400 was 62.9, so the pace was not dawdling, with the aforementioned trio towing the field.

Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford moved into 3rd at 500m and remained there through 800 as Hassan and Kipyegon passed the 2-lap mark in 2:07.0. Down the backstretch, Muir moved passed DeBues-Stafford and retook 3rd.

At the bell, Hassan, Kipyegon and Muir were separated by a meter, with DeBues-Stafford a step back and Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu (also known as Gebreezibeher) eyeing the Canadian’s back.

Hassan (3:09.4) and Kipyegon (3:09.5) went through 1200 almost side by side, with Muir a step back at 3:09.7. Hassan upped the ante with a quick burst before Kipyegon called her bluff and raised Hassan with a burst of her own 250 out.

Kipyegon was in full stride and began to pull away with 200 to go. Muir, meanwhile had Hassan in her sights and muscled by her 150 out. As Kipyegon entered the homestretch, she had built an unassailable lead and would not be caught. Hassan’s legs gave way as Muir vainly tried to reel in Kipyegon.

Kipyegon crossed in 3:53.11, history’s sixth-fastest performance, breaking Paula Ivan’s 3:53.96 OR from Seoul ’88. She was a good 10m clear of Muir, who set a British Record 3:54.50 for silver and became the No. 8 performer ever. Hassan settled for bronze in 3:55.86, to be followed by Hailu’s 3:57.60 for 4th with DeBues-Stafford taking 5th in 3:58.93.

In all, 8 runners finished under 4:00, with Americans Elle Purrier St. Pierre taking 10th in 4:01.75 and Cory McGee finishing 12th in 4:05.50.

A humble Kipyegon said, “It was a really fast race. I knew it would be going until the last lap. They are all strong. But I am so happy to have set the Olympic Record. Once I crossed the finish line, it was a very emotional moment for me. I thought about my daughter who I left behind at home. She wanted me to bring home a gold medal, and I am so happy and excited I did that.”

A reflective Muir said, “Since Rio, it’s been five years of wanting this medal and missing every single time just by a little bit. And finally to come away with this medal is great.”

The worn-out Hassan said, “I am happy with how it all goes but I feel stressed every day. “There is nothing else to do but to focus on Saturday’s [10,000m] race. I am focusing on that already. I have to. The body is very tired. I need it for tomorrow.”


WOMEN’S 1500 RESULTS

(August 06) (temperature 84F/29C; humidity 78%)

1. Faith Kipyegon (Ken) 3:53.11 (x, 6 W) (OR)

(63.0, 64.1 [2:07.1], 62.4 [3:09.5], 43.6)

(15.3, 29.5, 59.1, 2:01.8);

2. Laura Muir (GB) 3:54.50 NR (8, x W)

(63.1, 64.4 [2:07.5], 62.2 [3:09.7], 44.8)

(15.7, 30.5, 60.3, 2:02.9);

3. Sifan Hassan (Neth) 3:55.86

(62.9, 64.1 [2:07.0], 62.4 [3:09.4], 46.5)

(16.8, 32.0, 61.9, 2:04.7);

4. Freweyni Hailu (Eth) 3:57.60

(16.4, 32.0, 62.6, 2:05.6);

5. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (Can) 3:58.93

(17.3, 33.8, 64.5, 2:07.4);

6. Linden Hall (Aus) 3:59.01 PR

(15.7, 31.6, 62.8, 2:06.2);

7. Winnie Nanyondo (Uga) 3:59.80

(15.8, 31.5, 62.9, 2:07.4);

8. Nozomi Tanaka (Jpn) 3:59.95

(16.3, 33.1, 64.6, 2:08.2);

9. Marta Pérez (Spa) 4:00.12 PR

(15.8, 31.6, 63.4, 2:07.5);

10. Elle Purrier St. Pierre (US) 4:01.75

(15.6, 31.4, 64.2, 2:09.4);

11. Jessica Hull (Aus) 4:02.63

(16.7, 33.8, 66.1, 2:10.3);

12. Cory McGee (US) 4:05.50

(17.9, 35.4, 68.0, 2:12.6);

13. Kristiina Mäki (CzR) 4:11.76.

HEATS (August 02)

I–1. DeBues-Stafford 4:03.70; 2. Muir 4:03.89; 3. Winny Chebet (Ken) 4:03.93; 4. Sara Kuivisto (Fin) 4:04.10 NR; 5. Hailu 4:04.12; 6. Mäki 4:04.55 PR; 7. Pérez 4:04.76 PR; 8. McGee 4:05.15; 9. Elise Vanderelst (Bel) 4:05.63; 10. Ciara Mageean (Ire) 4:07.29; 11. Federica Del Buono (Ita) 4:07.70; 12. Laura Galván (Mex) 4:08.15; 13. Salomé Afonso (Por) 4:10.80; 14. Georgia Griffith (Aus) 4:14.43; 15. Hanna Klein (Ger) 4:14.83.

II–1. Hassan 4:05.17; 2. Hull 4:05.28; 3. Elle Purrier St. Pierre 4:05.34; 4. Gaia Sabbatini (Ita) 4:05.41; 5. Lemlem Hailu (Eth) 4:05.49; 6. Diana Mezuliáníková (CzR) 4:05.49 PR; 7. Revee Walcott-Nolan (GB) 4:06.23 PR; 8. Esther Guerrero (Spa) 4:07.08; 9. Ran Urabe (Jpn) 4:07.90 PR; 10. Natalia Hawthorn (Can) 4:08.04; 11. Claudia Bobocea (Rom) 4:09.19; 12. Edina Jebitok (Ken) 4:10.72 (advanced on appeal); 13. Aisha Praught Leer (Jam) 4:15.31; 14. Anjelina Nadai Lohalith (SSD) 4:31.65 NR; 15. María Pía Fernández (Uru) 4:59.56.

III–1. Kipyegon 4:01.40; 2. Nanyondo 4:02.24; 3. Hall 4:02.27; 4. Tanaka 4:02.33 NR; 5. Heather MacLean (US) 4:02.40; 6. Katie Snowden (GB) 4:02.77 PR; 7. Lucia Stafford (Can) 4:03.52 PR; 8. Martyna Galant (Pol) 4:05.03 PR; 9. Caterina Granz (Ger) 4:06.22; 10. Marta Pen Freitas (Por) 4:07.33 (advanced on appeal); 11. Sarah Healy (Ire) 4:09.78; 12. Diribe Welteji (Eth) 4:10.25; 13. Simona Vrzalová (CzR) 4:19.46;… dnf—Zourha Ali Mohamed (Dji), Rababe Arafi (Mor).

SEMIS (August 04)

I–1. Kipyegon 3:56.80 (fastest prelim ever); 2. Hailu 3:57.54; 3. DeBues-Stafford 3:58.28; 4. Hull 3:58.81 NR (2-3-4 also faster than previous fastest prelim); 5. Tanaka 3:59.19 NR; 6. Elle Purrier St. Pierre 4:01.00; 7. Mäki 4:01.23 NR; 8. Sabbatini 4:02.25 PR; 9. Snowden 4:02.93; 10. Galant 4:06.01; 11. McGee 4:10.39 (advanced on appeal); 12. Granz 4:10.93; 13. Chebet 4:11.62.

II–1. Hassan 4:00.23; 2. Muir 4:00.73; 3. Hall 4:01.37; 4. Nanyondo 4:01.64; 5. Pérez 4:01.69 PR; 6. Stafford 4:02.12 PR; 7. Kuivisto 4:02.35 NR; 8. Mezuliáníková 4:03.70 PR; 9. Hailu 4:03.76; 10. Freitas 4:04.15; 11. Vanderelst 4:04.86; 12. MacLean 4:05.33; 13. Jebitok 4:05.56. ◻︎

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