Three Africans set the pace, and all three took the hardware in the men’s marathon on the final day of the 2012 Olympics. It was Stephen Kiprotich, though, of Uganda who bested the rest of the pack and took home the gold medal.
Coming on the final day of the Olympics, the marathon represented the Games very well. The Olympics are a marathon, not a sprint.
Kenyans Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich were the favorites heading into this test of fortitude and endurance, and the two runners did not disappoint in the final event of the 2012 Olympics track and field competition.
Shira Springer of Boston.com interviewed American runner Ryan Hall prior to the competition about the daunting task at hand.
“They’re raising the bar. We’re raising the bar, too. It’s just we’re doing it slower than they are. We’re playing catch up. I believe that they’re normal humans just like you and I,’’ Hall said about the Kenyan marathon runners.
It turns out they are human after all.
The Kenyans weren’t the only long-distance runners who were hoping to capture the men’s marathon gold.
Kiprotich surged at the 24-mile mark and took a lead that he would not surrender. The two Kenyans were left in his dust as he cruised to victory over the defending champions.
There’s such a thing as “kicking it” into second and third gear. But for the Ugandan to reach down deep inside himself and make a surge like that after 23 miles, that’s a whole new gear altogether.
Remarkably, this gold-medal victory was the first time a Ugandan won an Olympic medal in the marathon.
American Mebrahtom Keflezighi wasn’t close to medaling, but the 37-year-old came in fourth place at nearly a minute-and-a-half behind the bronze-medal time of Wilson Kipsand Kiprotich of Kenya.
Men’s Marathon Leaderboard
|Bronze||Wilson Kipsand Kiprotich||Kenya||2:09:37|
|DNM||Marilson Dos Santos||Brazil||2:11:10|
There are no other track and field events scheduled for the 2012 Olympics.
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