Gold: Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN)
Silver: Hellen Obiri (KEN)
Bronze: Almaz Ayana (ETH)
Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot won the 5000m distance race in Olympic-record time of 14:40.79. She is the first female from her nation to win an Olympic gold medal in the event.
Cheruiyot was followed shortly by countrywoman Hellen Obiri to complete a Kenyan lockout of the top two positions.
For the first 4000m of the race, it appeared as if Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana would complete a sweep of the distance races at these Olympics, having won the 10000m in world-record time a week ago.
With roughly 1000m to go, Ayana held a comfortable lead of 25-meters over Cheruiyot and Obiri. Her pace began to rapidly decline, though, and the Kenyans accelerated to overtake Ayana with two laps to go.
Ayana managed to hold off the rest of the pack to take bronze.
Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand and Abbey D’Agostino of Team USA were both on the start list for this event. The two athletes will be linked forever in the event’s history thanks to an inspiring display of sportsmanship in a semifinal race earlier in the week.
In that race, D’Agostino inadvertently clipped the back of Hamblin’s heel, sending both runners to the ground. D’Agostino then helped Hamblin two her feet, and the pair completed the final five laps of the race side-by-side, despite D’Agostino having torn her ACL in the collision.
Both runners were granted a spot in Friday night’s final out of appreciation for the display of sportsmanship. For D’Agostino, it was little more than ceremonial because of the injury.
Hamblin, however, did run in the final, finishing in 17th place.