London 2012 Olympics: sub-1:41 for Rudisha!

David Rudisha achieves history by becoming the first athlete to hold world and Olympic 800m titles as well as the world record

Posted on August 9, 2012 by
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David Rudisha (Mark Shearman)

The men’s 200m was anticipated as the climax of the seventh day of athletics where Usain Bolt, in his own words, was attempting to become a legend but David Rudisha first achieved legendary status with a performance which surely will be remembered as one of the greatest in Olympic history.

Running in a style not to dissimilar to previous world record-holder Wilson Kipketer when he was at his peak, Rudisha oozed on the pace from the gun, passing through 200m in 23.4 and 400m in 49.28 before the Kenyan kicked again down the back-straight, passing 600m in 1:14.30 which was 0.29 faster than his corresponding split when he set his previous world record in Rieti in 2010.

As great as Kipketer was, he never did what Rudisha achieved tonight, which was setting a world record at a major outdoor championships as his gun-to-tape 800m victory was rewarded with a world record of 1:40.91.

To underline the rarity of what Rudisha achieved, this was the first time a world record has been set in a middle-distance major outdoor championships race since 1980 when Nadezhda Olizarenko won the women’s 800m on home-soil at the Moscow Olympics.

This was also just the second time in post-war Olympic history a world record has been set in the men’s 800m final after Alberto Juantorena ran 1:43.50 in 1976.

Rudisha created more history by becoming the first athlete in history to simultaneously hold Olympic and world titles as well as the world record.

After the race, Rudisha commented: “I am very happy. I’ve waited for this moment for a very long time. To come here and get a world record is unbelievable. I had no doubt about winning. Today the weather was beautiful. I decided to go for it.”

As imperious as Rudisha was this evening, the Kenyan might not go unchallenged in upcoming seasons.

The silver medallist was 18-year-old reigning world junior champion Nijel Amos from Botswana, who didn’t even make the medals at the World Youth Championships last year. His PB this time last year stood at 1:47.28 but he came through strongly behind Rudisha in 1:41.73 to move to equal third on the world all-time lists with Sebastian Coe.

Timothy Kitum, who doesn’t turn 18 until November, took bronze in 1:42.53 to move into the world’s all-time top-ten.

What’s more, the silver and bronze medallists are also faster than Rudisha at their respective ages.

This was the greatest 800m in depth as every finisher set a best time for placing record. Andrew Osagie decimated his PB with a 1:43.77 performance but this could only suffice for eighth although he moves to fourth on the UK all-time lists behind Coe, Peter Elliott and Steve Cram.

4 Responses to “London 2012 Olympics: sub-1:41 for Rudisha!”

  1. Alex Cook says:

    No doubt the greatest 800 metre race of all time with all runners barr one (Kaki) running personal best times and several national records.

    On a parr wioth Filbert Bayi's 1500 metre run in Christchurch in 1974 when he won in world record time draging many others to personal best times and national records.

  2. Kevin O'Neill says:

    The media seemingly cannot look past Bolt's two wins (great as they were), but for me, this was THE race of the games ((so far!), both for the winning time, and for place times. I would not be too surprised if Rudish runs 1.39.? after the games. His 600m time here was sub-1.40 pace, but he slowed over the last 120 metres.

  3. James Willis says:

    This is a great, defining run by David Rudisha. He pulled the entire field to glory in his wake! It's so refreshing to have someone with a pleasing persona achieve so brightly. What a fine role model of achievement and sportsmanship! I contrast Usain Bolt's puerile puffery… such a lamentable and pompous, albeit swift, buffoon.

  4. Ray Eaton says:

    Amazing race, and such a privilege to be able to say "I was there". For Rudisha to be able to run a world record, in an Olympic final, without the aid of a pacemaker, was incredible. I'm sure that when the Olympics are over, this will be regarded as one of the great performances, in any sport, at London 2012.
    Andrew Osagie deserves enormous credit, for his performance, even though he finished in eighth place. A lifetime best performance. Fourth on the British all-time list, A time that would have won the last three Olympic 800 metres finals. And tactically, I don't think he could have done any better, than what he did.

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