What Sifan Hassan has achieved over the last nine days has been utterly extraordinary, among the finest distance running feats of all-time.
But while the 28-year-old might have fallen just short in her assault on a hat-trick that would have drawn worthy comparison with Emil Zátopek’s 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon successes 69 years ago.
Hassan has participated in six races, more than 60 laps, one fall and three medals, a golden distance double and a 1500m bronze behind Faith Kipyegon, probably the best female exponent of that event the world has even seen.
The race had been a highly anticipated with world champion Hassan pitted against Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, who broke the Dutchwoman’s world record in June, and it did not disappoint.
This group lapped the back markers, and the medal contenders fell to three at 7600m, as world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri relinquished her challenge to drop back in the field.
Now it was a race between Gidey, Hassan and Gezahegne, but as the finish line drew closer, the pace slowed as the trio realized it was a race against each other for the medals and not the clock.
WHAT A RACE! 🙌
Sifan Hassan leaves the #TokyoOlympics with three medals:
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 7, 2021
Hassan tucked in just behind the leaders and with about 3,000m remaining; she increased her pace to sit second behind Gidey.
On the final turn Hassan surged past the Ethiopian to cross the line in 29:55.32.
She was followed by Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne who overtook Gidey to take silver in 29:56.18 with the latter taking bronze in 30:01.72.
In June, Hassan clocked a world record time of 29:06.82. That record stood for two days as Gidey topped it with a time of 29:01.03.