Conseslus Kipruto ran an Olympic record of 8:03.28 to win Kenya’s ninth consecutive gold medal in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.
Kipruto’s victory extended a streak which has seen Kenya win every Olympic final they’ve entered beginning in 1968, broken only by boycotts in 1976 and 1980. The past three, in particular, went to Ezekiel Kemboi (2004 and 2012) and teammate Brimin Kipruto (2008), seventh here in 8:18.79.
With high expectations placed on the Kenyan runners in the race, Kipruto finally came of age with his composed running to clinch the one gold medal that Kenyans have practically made their own in the last nine editions of the Olympics.
“I’m so happy! I think the season has been good for me. I was aiming to beat Kemboi and be the Olympics champion. As you know, it has been so hard to beat Kemboi. As for the early celebration, I watched the big screen and realised I was far ahead of everyone,” Conseslus said.
Silver went to USA’s Evan Jager in 8:04.28, also under the old Olympic record of 8:05.51, with defending champion Kemboi taking the bronze in 8:08.47.
Jager took over the lead midway through the second kilometre, and led Kipruto through 2000m in 5:25.82.
Former Olympic champion Kipruto finished seventh in 8:18.79.
“The race was good but my body failed to respond. I just felt tired,” Brimin, the 2008 Beijing Olympics champion said after the race.