David Rudisha became the first man in over half a century to successfully defend his 800m Olympic gold medal, running in 1:42.16 to beat a strong field of challengers. In one of the quickest 800m races in recent history, he surged past his rivals to win impressively, running with his usual poise and grace all through the race.
It was always going to be a difficult race for the 27 year old, who has struggled with injury since winning his last Olympic gold in London. The 6″3′ runner started his race by attempting to run at the front of the pack, as usual, but was challenged by Kenyan compatriot Alfred Kipketer, a real contender for the gold this year having beaten Rudisha twice in the last two years. He took off at an unbelievable (and unsustainable) pace, running the first 200m in 23 seconds.
However, Rudisha kept up with him, and Kipketer was leading at the bell, having done the lap in 49.23 seconds. However, he soon began to fade after miscalculating his starting speed, With 300m to go, Rudisha overtook Kipketer and never looked back. He powered through and finished the race in his usual commanding style. Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi won silver in 1:42.61, with American Clayton Murphy finishing third in 1:42.93.
Rudisha’s Kenyan compatriots Ferguson Rotich and Alfred Kipketer finished fifth and seventh in 1:43.55 and 4:46.02 respectively.
Congratulations, Mr. Rudisha.