In a continuing series, Steve Smythe looks at the history of events at the Olympics, this time focusing on the women’s 3000m steeplechase
There have only been two Olympic women’s steeplechases. The first, in 2008 in Beijing, had 50 entries from 30 nations.
Gulnara Samitova-Galkina was already the world record-holder, but she made history by front-running her way to a women’s first sub-nine clocking as she won easily in 8:58.81. It was expected many more would follow under nine minutes but we had to wait until this year for that to happen with Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet clocking 8:59.97 in Eugene in May, while Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi ran 9:00.01 at that same meeting.
Yuliya Zaripova led all the way in London in 2012 and she won easily in 9:06.72 but later lost her gold and was handed a ban for doping.
With Russia unlikely to be in Rio, the favourites should be Jebet, Jepkemoi and Habiba Ghibri, who was second behind Zaripova in London.
Ghibri went to what was then third on the all-time list behind the two Russian Olympic champions (now fourth) with a 9:05.36 win ahead of Jepkemoi in Brussels last year.
No British woman has made the final at an Olympic Games, although Helen Clitheroe came close with a British record 9:29.14 in 2008 and Barbara Parker narrowly fell short in London in 2012.
» Check out editions of Athletics Weekly magazine from September 24, 2015, for more from our ‘Countdown to Rio’ series
» For the full Olympic history: Women’s 3000m steeplechase feature, including a complete list of medallists, see the January 7, 2016, edition of AW magazine