Beijing Diary, August 17, 2008, The Flower Promise--Galkina-Samitova Wins Steeple gold in world record! by Larry Eder


Guinara Galkina-Somitova used her Olympic stage to its fullest and gave the 85,000 assembled track fans one of the most amazing front running seminars in our sport history, setting a new World record of 8:58.81! In tenth, Jenny Barringer set the American
Record once again!

In the end Galkina-Samitova had to win, she had made a promise to Usain Bolt...

Guinara Galkina Samitova took the lead of this race from the beginning and never faltered. "My coach told me just watch the situation and use my brains, " Samitova noted aftewards.

Samitova's plans were simple to see, but challenging to complete. She was going against all present distance racing theory about taking the lead early and keeping it. The kickers were supposed to get you. Not the case here.

Galkina Samitova is an elegant runner. Watching her hurdle and push herself lap after lap, was one of the highlights of these games. Eunice Jepkorir of Kenya, Ruth Bosbori Nyangua of Kenya, Tatiana Petrove of Russia and Zemzem Ahmed of Ethiopia were all with Samitova as she passed the kilometer in 2:58.63, obviously world record pace.

The pack stayed near Samitova, but there were changes as she hit two kilometers in 6:01.20. Ekaterina Volkova and Eunice Jepkorir were closest to Samitova as a second break happened, putting some distance on Petrova, as Nyangua fell back. Marta Dominguez of Spain was lurking.

Galkina Samitova, who had lead from the start, began to push over the last kilometer an this is where her break was complete-the chasing pack would never catch her.

The race continued, as Galkina Samitova was relentless, her clean hurdling and her speed continuing to build her bid for the gold medal. " When I looked up at the last lap, Iknew I could break the world record." noted Guinara in recollecting the race.

And break it she did. Running a last lap in a scintilating 69.72, Guinara Galkina Samitova of Russia broke her own world record, set four years, one month and fourteen days ago in Heraklion, Greece. Breaking her own world record by nearly four seconds, Galkina Samitova finished in 8:58.81 with a huge smile on her face!

The battle for the next two medals began to heat up with one lap to go. Ekaterina Volkova, Eunice Jepkorir and Marta Dominguez were battling for the final medals. At the start of the last lap, Marta Dominguez charged behind Kiporir and Volkova.

As they cleared the first hurdle of the last lap, it looked like Dominguez and Volkova would pass Kiporiri, but the race was not over. On the second barrier of the last lap, Dominguez went down, while in third position, with Jepkorir hurdling Dominguez, as Dominguez, clipping her spikes and doing a somersault on the back side of the barrier, went down hard. She tried to get up, but exhausted, collapsed on the infield, " I do not remember anything..I just saw the track. I left my trail leg too low and I miscalculated the position of the steeple. I was closer than I thought," Dominguez told the media afterwards.

Volkova and Jepkorir kept fighting, with Volkova seemingly ahead as the two athletes hit the final water barrier. Volkova and Jepkorir hit the final straightaway even, with Volkova starting to build a lead over the last barrier. It looked like Volkova had the silver in lock, but Eunice Jepjorir had other ideas, " I was focused on my finish the whole race, I tried hard to be in the medals. I was trying to be the gold medalist but I am just glad I improved my time."

Jepkorir made a mad dash, with about ten meters to go, and passed Ekaterina Volkova for second!

Guinara Galkina Samitova had her gold medal and world record, in 8:58.81, with Eunice Jepkorir of Kenya in second in 9:07.41, an new African and national record. Ekaterina Volkova of Russia took third in 9:07.64, her seasonal best. In fourth, Tatiana Petrova of Russia ran her seasonal best of 9:12.33. In fifth, Cristina Casandra of Romania set a national record running 9:16.85! in sevent, in a personal best, Ruth Bosbori Nyangau of Kenya ran 9:17.35. In eighth, Zemzem Ahmed of Ethiopia set a national record in 9:17.85. In ninth, Wioletta Frankiewicz of Poland ran a seasonal best in 9:21.76. In tenth, the US runner Jenny Barringer ran a new American record of 9:22.26, and in eleventh, the former US record holder Anna Willard ran 9:25.63.

This event continues to show the growth of women's distance running around the world! With ten personal best, seasonal bests, area records and national records in the mix, the crowd was treated to Olympic distance running!

One more story to finish this great story. Before the race, Guinara Galkina Samitova of Russia was in a coffee shop and she met with Usain Bolt, the world record holde at 100 meters and new gold medalist. Here is how she tells the story, " I did not watch Bolt's performance, but today my coach and I , we went to a coffee shop and we met the boy who won the 100 meters, who gave me a bunch of flowers. He told me these flowers were transferable. If I took them, I must win the Gold and then pass them on to someone else. So I thing I will give them to my roommate so she might win. "

Watch for more on the passing of flowers....

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