South Africa's Caster Semenya was the favorite to take home the gold medal in the women's 800-meter final Saturday night at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and she made good on that label after putting together a strong finish over the race's final 200 meters.
Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba pushed Semenya throughout the early stages of the race's final lap, but she ran out of steam as the dominant South African blew past her, per USA Today's Dan Wolken:
According to the Wall Street Journal's Sara Germano, Semenya's time of one minute, 55.28 seconds was the fastest in the world in eight years.
Kenya's Margaret Nyairera Wambui tallied a personal best of 1:56.89 to claim bronze.
Here's a look at the standings and official results from Saturday night's final:
|Women's 800-Meter Results|
|Gold||Caster Semenya||South Africa||1:55.28|
|Bronze||Margaret Nyairera Wambui||Kenya||1:56.89|
|6||Lynsey Sharp||Great Britain||1:57.69|
|8||Kate Grace||United States||1:59.57|
And here's an updated look at the latest medal count, which will feature the United States in the top spot when the Olympics come to a conclusion Sunday:
The U.S. may lead the medal count by a massive margin, but it entered Saturday night's 800-meter final with a lackluster track record in the event. Specifically, the U.S. hadn't medaled in the event since Kim Gallagher took home bronze in 1988.
Given the significance of the drought, all eyes were on Kate Grace, a former All-American at Yale, as she attempted to halt that skid in Lane 1.
However, Grace couldn't keep pace with the competition and lingered at the back of the pack for all 800 meters, finishing eighth with a time of 1:59.57.
Many believed Canada's Melissa Bishop would be Semenya's biggest challenger, but the World Championships 800-meter silver medalist couldn't muster enough juice to crack the podium.
As for Semenya, the South African star looked fresh over the final 200 meters after breezing through the opening 600. And considering Semenya is still just 25 years old, she should continue to vie for finishes atop the podium for years to come.
"The field was really good," Semenya said, according to the Olympic News Service. "It was fantastic to race with such great athletes."
"I dedicate this to my team," the gold medalist added, per the Olympic News Service. "They've done a fantastic job."