Track Phenom Sifan Hassan Crushes Olympic Medal Triple With 10,000-Meter Gold
UPDATE 8/7/2021: On August 6, Sifan Hassan won bronze in the 1,500 meters, finishing in 3:55.86 behind gold medalist Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon of Kenya, who set an Olympic record with her time of 3:53.11, and silver medalist Laura Muir of Great Britain (3:54.50). Today, Hassan clinched gold in the 10,000 meters, finishing in 29:55.32 ahead of silver medalist Kalkidan Gezahegne of Bahrain (29:56.18) and bronze medalist Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia (30:01.72).
Hassan will leave Tokyo after earning her unique triple—three Olympic medals: two gold (1,500 meters and 10,000 meters) and one bronze (5,000 meters). Though she didn’t achieve her goal of three gold medals, Hassan’s three-peat podium feat—which involved her racing 24,500 meters in six races over nine days—is seriously impressive.
The intensity and magnitude of her accomplishment seemed to hit Hassan as she stood atop the medal podium for the third and final time on Saturday. She started crying, the New York Times reported. “And it wasn’t the medal,” Hassan explained afterwards. “It was that I’m done. It was a relief.”
Originally published 8/2/2021 with headline: Sifan Hassan Wins 1,500 Heat After Track Fall—Then Earns Gold 12 Hours Later in the 5,000
In a preliminary heat of the 1,500-meter women’s track race on August 2 at the Tokyo Games, distance running star Sifan Hassan tripped over a fallen competitor and crashed to the ground with just one lap to go. It seemed like the race was over for Hassan, who dropped to 12th place out of 15 after the collision.
But the athlete, who competes for the Netherlands, picked herself up and immediately started sprinting. With next-level grit and a blazing fast stride, 28-year-old Hassan surged by her competitors one by one. In a little over a minute, she passed them all to cross the finish line first, comfortably securing her spot in the semifinal, which will take place August 4.
She finished with a time of 4:05.17, just in front of Australia’s Jessica Hull (4:05.28) and Team USA’s Elle Purrier St. Pierre (4:05.34).
Watch the epic comeback here in this tweet from NBC Olympics:
It gets even more amazing though: Just 12 hours later, Hassan went on to win gold in the 5,000-meter final. Her time of 14:36.79 bested Hellen Obiri of Kenya, who finished second in 14:38.36, and Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia, who placed third in 14:38.87.