Vivian Cheruiyot chased Almaz Ayana in the 10,000 meters, and took the silver. In the 5,000 meters, Vivian Cheruiyot and Hellen Obiri formed their own pellotan and chased Alamz down. After the 10,000 meters, Ayana was worn out. Her 2:50 per kilometer pace for three kilometers wore her out and gave Vivian Cheruiyot her chance. Vivian and Hellen went by Almaz and they went to win, with Vivian Cheruiyot getting the only medal missing in her mantle, a gold for the Olympic 5000 meters! Her smile after the race was one of joy and battles hard won! Here is Justin Lagat’s story on Vivian.
Vivian Cheruiyot finally gets the only gold medal she had been missing and yearning for in her career:
The women’s 5000m became such an exciting race after Almaz Ayana was almost 80 meters ahead of the field with about 6 laps to go and three Kenyans were working together in a chasing pack of three, as they tried to reduce the gap. Was the gap going to reduce? Was Ayana beatable? Was the team work by Kenyans going to work for them?
Led by Miyuki Uehara of Japan, the race had started out quite fast as the athletes crossed the first kilometer in 2:59.9. Ayana, Cheruiyot, Obiri, Can and Cherono followed in that order.
Ayana broke away as they approached the two kilometer point and, for a while, the four athletes behind followed shortly before letting her go. It definitely promised to be a fast race.
From 2000m up to the 4000m, Ayana was running at an average of 2:50 per kilometer pace! Three Kenyans followed from about 50 meters back with about 3 laps to go. Obiri and Cheruiyot had been exchanging the lead of the chasing pack.
Cheruiyot then overtook Obiri and increased the pace. Mercy Cherono could not keep up with the two of her team mates and began to drop back. The gap between the Kenyans and Ayana began closing rapidly with about two laps to go and soon, the two Kenyans had already overtaken her as they approached the bell. It was as if everyone was contented in their position as the three athletes ran in a single file in the last lap as Cheruiyot came to cross the finish line in a new Olympic record of 14:26.17 and win the gold medal that she had been longing to earn in her impressive career in running. Obiri came second in 14:29.77 to take the silver medal and her first Olympic medal as Ayana finished third to take the bronze medal in 14:33.59. The third Kenyan; Mercy Cherono finished fourth in 14:42.89 probably wishing she had held on a little more with her team mates.
Kenya’s Alice Aprot had paced Ayana very well for the first half of the race in the 10,000m and it seems tonight was finally her time to repay the Kenyans by pacing them in the 5000m event.
There was only one track event for Kenyans on the 8th day of athletics in Rio, but they made the best out of it as they won the top two medals momentarily putting Kenya in second position at the medal table before Usain Bolt led the Jamaicans in winning a gold medal for their country in the men’s 4 x 100m relays and moving Kenya back to the third place again.
Just like it happened in the women 1500m race when Faith Kipyegon won a gold medal that was expected by many to go to Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, Kenyan women proved the same point again in the 5000m race; that no one is unbeatable.