|Rudisha at the finish. Symmonds (far left), Solomon (center-left)|
The US men have been exceptionally deep in the middle distances this year, and in the 800m the rare opportunity to place a man on the Olympic podium seemed more likely than not. The problem: Kenya's David Rudisha is the most dominant athlete in track and field not named Bolt, meaning that the available podium spots for the remainder of the field were just two.
Two men from the US contingent of three navigated their heats into the final, Duane Solomon , formerly of USC, and five-time US National Champion Nick Symmonds of Oregon. Unlike most championship races that play out tactically (read: slowly - see all other recapped races), this one was the race that David Rudisha had likely been waiting his entire life for. An historically deep field, roaring crowds, massively high-stakes and soaring adrenaline. At the gun he blasted straight to the front, mashed the pedal down in the first half of the second lap when runners generally relax and gather themselves for the sprint home, then sent that last 200m for a new world record (1:40:91) and Olympic gold. As masterful and bold a performance as any in the London Games. In his wake, he dragged every other runner but one to a personal best time. Three of the eight runners, including himself, ran to a new national record. The finishing time for each place in the race, one through eight, were all-time bests for that place. It was the greatest 800m race ever run. Amid all of this, the Americans honorably held it together for 4th and 5th place finishes. Out of the medals yes, but with the second and third fastest finishes in US history - D. Solomon (1:42:82), N. Symmonds (1:42:95). One really couldn't ask for better performances in an Olympic Final. Results here (Race video here - beginning at 1:44:00)
This was Kenya's fourth gold medal in the event over the last seven Games, going back to Seoul in 1988. The US last stood on the podium in 1992 when Johnny Gray (still the US record holder and coach to D. Solomon), won bronze.
|Rudisha - Fortune favors the bold|
An interesting stadium-seat view of the race as it unfolds. The Americans run near the back of the field until closing hard at the finish.
2012 London Olympics
- Olympic 800m Recap
- Olympic 1500m Recap
- Olympic 3000m Steeplechase Recap
- Olympic 5000m Recap
- Olympic 10,000m Recap
- Olympic Marathon Recap
- Week One: The Olympic Vortex