In the weeks prior to the Olympic women’s 800m, Stuart Weir and I discussed the various ways that it could play out. We thought that it might come down to Athing and Keely, we could not see another way. Stuart also noted that all three of his GB women could score PBs and perhaps, not medal. I wondered if Raevyn and Ajee’ would move like they did in the US Trials, which, I believed, put them in a place that could suggest a medal.
US takes gold and bronze in 800m! August 3, 2021, photos by @stuartweir, @britathletics, @euroathletics
, @tokyo2020, @usatf, @coachathletics
, @caltrackrn, @larryeder, #tokyodiary2021, #runblogrun, #runningnetwork, #theshoeaddicts, #athleticsafrica, @justinlagat, pic.twitter.com/irClhZMRNS
— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) August 3, 2021
Well, this is one of those pieces that I missed. In posting and editing 10-14 stories and videos a day during the Olympics, as well as viewing all 55 hours of the competition from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, I did not write much and I missed about a dozen stories. We had great traffic on our sites, thanks to the writings of Stuart Weir, Justin Lagat, David Hunter, and our friends from the Oregon journalism department (Joe Zoechert, Matt Wisner, Samantha Farris, Pierre Weil).
Enjoy this piece on the Women’s 800m by Stuart Weir, who has been the most prolific during his time in Tokyo.
The women’s 800 was a race full of promise. My questions at the outset were: Was Athing Mu untouchable? Could Natoya Goule turn her 1:56 and 1:57s in pace-maker-led races into a championship medal? Three GB finalists was a phenomenal achievement but could one of them finally produce a British medal?
The first question was easily answered. Nothing went through in 57.9 with everyone else behind her. That left two medals between 7 athletes. Goule was in second place until 600 meters, with Alemu third and Wang fourth.
As Goule tied up, the rest of the field got faster. Reekie made a run for home. Keely Hodgkinson was only fifth through 600 and Raevyn Rogers was seventh after 700m. Keely made her move and Raevyn repeated her Doha charge. It all finished:
1 Athing Mu 1:55.21 NR
2 Keely Hodgkinson 1:55.88 NR
3 Raevyn Rogers 1:56.81 PB
4 Jemma Reekie 1:56.90 PB
5 Chunyu Wang 1:57.00 PB
6 Habitam Alemu 1:57.66
7 Alexandra Bell 1:57.66 PB
8 Natoya Goule 1:58.26
Two national records, PRs by the three British girls, the two Americans, and Wang, said a lot about the quality of the race. That the first two are each 19 says a lot. Think how many years Mu and Hodgkinson have ahead of them to chase each other!
The three British girls, all in their first Olympics excelled themselves running PRs. Reekie said last week that she was chasing Kelly Holmes’ long-standing British record. Hodgkinson got there first. What a great performance by Alexandra Bell, only called up to the GB team when Laura Muir decided to give up her ambitions to double up, to reach the Olympic final and run a PR.
The winner commented: “I am happy and satisfied, I am glad I did what I have been doing all year, and not switching off because I am at the Olympics. I didn’t plan to lead the race. I thought it would be really tight going into the first 400m. You can use your head, but you have to run your race, be ready to execute. That is what I did, if nobody was going out there I was going to do it myself. The next step is getting people to pronounce my name the right way”.
Hodgkinson commented: “I am quite in shock about that time. From European Indoors to breaking some records to now the biggest stage in the world, still, a junior is absolutely crazy. And there’s not just one 19-year-old in the race, there is which is unbelievable. Hopefully, it stems for a good competitive 10-15 years ahead and faster times on the horizon”.
Every athlete has reason to be proud of what they achieved and I am most grateful to have been there.