A historic run by Athing Mu in the women's 800m and lessons to learn from the men's 5000m heats

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On the evening session of the first day of athletics in Tokyo, Athing Mu ran a spectacular race at the Olympic Stadium to win the women's 800m gold medal in a new US national record of 1:55.21. This was historic. The last women's 800m Olympic titles to go to the USA was in 1968 by Madeline Manning-Mims, who now remains as the only other American to ever win the Olympic title in this event.

From start to finish, Mu ran her own race at the front pacing all, except one of the runners behind her to their personal best times. Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain ran a national record of 1:55.88 and won the silver medal for her country behind her as her teammate, Raevyn Rogers finished third in a personal best time of 1:56.81 to take the bronze medal.

Earlier on, there were two heats of the men's 5000m and perhaps some lessons to learn from casualties from the first heat.

Having just run 12:53.28 to win the Ethiopian national trials in Hengelo less than two months ago, Ethiopia's Getnet Wale was arguably one of the runners to watch in the finals, but, together with Kenya's Daniel Simiu, they allowed their heat to become a slow run that ended in a frantic dash for the finish by a large group in the last 400m. The two would finish in 9th and 10th positions in 13:41.13 and 13:41.64 respectively. Kenya's Nicholas Kimeli won it in 13:38.87 ahead of Canada's Mohammed Ahmed in 13:38.96 and USA's Woody Kincaid in 13:39.04. No one advanced to the finals through the five fastest losing times in this heat.

Runners in the second heat already knew the times to beat in order to get all the next five fastest times. Mohammed Katir, running easy and chatting with USA's Paul Chelimo crossed the finish line first in 13:30.10 ahead of Chelimo in 13:30.15 and Canada's Justyn Knight in 13:30.22. A total of ten runners advanced to the finals in this heat.

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