Tokyo Olympics: Kipchoge pushes Kenya to number 19 in medal standing after winning marathon
With a subtle but unmatchable surge in mile 19, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke the pack and ran solo the rest of the way to repeat as Olympic marathon champion.
The world record-holder finished in 2:08:38, with a second half of 1:03:35. His winning margin of 1:20 is the biggest since Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic marathon.
Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands (2:09:58) took the silver medal, and Bashir Abdi of Belgium (2:10:00) goes home with bronze.
Galen Rupp, the 2016 bronze medalist, was the top American, finishing eighth in 2:11:41. The other Americans, Jake Riley (2:16:26) and Abdi Abdirahman (2:18:27), placed 29th and 41st, respectively. Running in his fifth Olympics, 44-year-old Abdirahman was the oldest man in the field.
Kipchoge covered the stretch between 30K and 35K in 14:28, 30 seconds faster than any previous 5K split. When he went to the front for good, gradually but undeniably, the 10-man lead pack splintered immediately.
Kipchoge’s lead was suddenly 3, then 5, then 7 seconds, and the gap continued to increase over the remaining 11 kilometers of the race.
“I wanted to create a [gap] to show the world that this is a beautiful race,” Kipchoge said about his definitive move. “I wanted to test my fitness, I wanted to test how I’m feeling. I wanted to show that we have hope in the future.”