Karoline GrÃ¸vdal did Norway proud. Running in both the 10,000m and 5,000m, GrÃ¸vdal ran well in both. Norway is proud of her, and Karoline is one of the country’s biggest athletes. Jonas Hedman has been updating us each day on the performances of Scandanavian athletes. It helps me understand that countries not the size of U.S. define success in much different ways.
Larry’s note here…
Scandinavian report day 8
Norway’s GrÃ¸vdal top-10 in two events in Rio
During the penultimate day of the Olympics two Scandinavian athletes competed and both finished top-8 in their events. Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli GrÃ¸vdal, 26, added a second personal best during the Games when finishing seventh at 5000m and 37-year-old David SÃ¶derberg was eight in the hammer final.
The women’s 5000m final became an african battle about the gold where Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot surprisingly ran down 10k winner Almaz Ayana 700 meters from the finish line and won with 3.5 seconds in a new olympic record of 14:26.17. Compatriot Hellen Obiri was second and Ayana third.
Further back in the field Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli GrÃ¸vdal finished seventh in 14:57.33 and became the second best European in the field, only half a second behind TurkeyÂ´s Kenyan-born Yasemin Can who beat her by 47 seconds at 10 000m.
GrÃ¸vdal finished strong with a final kilometer at 2:51.9 and lowered her personal best by 0.24. She had a great Olympics and set PB also in the 10 000m final a week ago where she finished ninth at 31:14.07.
Two top-10 placings in Rio
“This was great and I am really satisfied with my performances in Rio. All preparations has gone very well, I got in the shape of my life and kept it through all three races”, says GrÃ¸vdal to Norwegian TV.
This was her second Olympics after running 5000m in the preliminaries in London 2012 and her two top-10 placings is something almost unique for a Norwegian in summer Olympics.
“I learned a lot about chamionship preparations at the Worlds in Beijing last year. That was a good experience to have when several of my team mates began to leave Rio to get back home, I almost lost my focus for at that moment”, says GrÃ¸vdal who has three more track races left this season. One of them is 5000m at the Diamond League final in Brussel.
Started as a steeplechase runner
GrÃ¸vdal started as a steeplechase runner and her first success was at age 17 back in 2007 when she took a bronze medal at the World Youth championship at 2000m steeplechase. One week later she won the European junior title at 3000m steeplechase and set her still standing Norwegian senior record the same year when running 9:33.19.
In 2012 GrÃ¸vdal switched focus to 5000m and has since then been running the distance in four straight global championships until 2016. This year she also added 10 000m where she was second at the European championships. The Rio Olympics is by far her biggest success fo far.
David SÃ¶derberg – first Olympic final at 37
Finnish hammer thrower David SÃ¶derberg turned 37 just before Rio and have had a long career which you can tell by looking at his personal best, 78.83, which is 13 years old. For many years he competed in the shadow of the one year younger compatriot Olli-Pekka Karjalainen who set a World junior record at 78.33 in 1999 and won the European championships in 2006. But when he retired in 2012 SÃ¶derberg’s career took a new direction and the last two seasons has been his best when it comes to championships placings.
With age comes experience
The World’s in Beijing 2015 was SÃ¶derberg’s fifth global championships within a span of ten years and for the first time he reached the final, finishing sixth. This summer he was seventh at the European championships (eight in 2012) and now finished eight with 74.61 in his third Olympics.
“That throw was pretty good technically and should have been longer, but I didn’t quit have the power. I had a hard time waiting for the answer if I was suppose to be top-8 halfway and get three more throws. I did but wasn’t able to improve. But it’s my best results in the Olympics”, says SÃ¶derberg to Finnish TV.
Less than 1.5m from bronze until the last round
It was a close competition since he was just over three meters from the podium and his season best of 77.60 would have been only 13 centimeters from the bronze medal. It was a strange meet since the winning result of 78.68 was the shortest in the Olympics for 32 years. In Los Angeles 1984 Finland’s Juha Tiainen won at 78.08. In Rio 76.05 was enough for bronze until the last round when Wojciech Nowicki from Poland throw 77.73.
“If the bronze would have gone at 76.05 I think I would have had a hard time to sleep the night after. But Nowicki is well worth the medal”, says SÃ¶derberg who will continue his career for at least one more year.