On another hot, humid night in Tokyo, the match-up we’ve all been waiting for finally took place: defending Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and the 5,000m gold medalist and world champion Sifan Hassan, who was attempting the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m triple crown, went head-to-head over the metric mile, but it was the U.K.’s Laura Muir who got between them, setting a national record of 3:54.50, while Kipyegon took home the gold in a new Olympic record of 3:53.11. Hassan had to settle for bronze, in 3:55.86.
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon wins gold in the women’s 1,500m in an Olympic record 3:53.11! Puts an end to Sifan Hassan’s triple gold hopes.
Great Britain’s Laura Muir takes silver in 3:54.50 for a new national record.
— Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) August 6, 2021
Canadian track fans had their eyes on Toronto’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who was competing in her first-ever Olympic final. She did not make it out of the heats five years ago in Rio, but this time around was a potential challenger for a medal. She ran a brave race, going out strong to lead the pack through the first 300m. Hassan took over, to bring the pack through the first lap in 62 seconds, while Stafford stuck with the lead group to stay in medal contention. She looked strong coming into the bell lap, but in the last 300m Kipyegon kicked up the pace and DeBues-Stafford began losing touch with the top three runners, ending up in fifth in 3:58.93 behind Ethiopia’s Freweyni Gebreezibeher, a 20-place improvement from her Olympic debut and one spot ahead of her sixth-place finish at the 2019 world championships in Doha.
— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) August 6, 2021
While everyone was expecting the fight for gold to be between Kipyegon and Hassan, it was Muir who was the (delightful) surprise of the night. The U.K. runner ran the race of her life, passing Hassan in the final 200m to take the silver medal in a new personal best and national record. Hassan’s third-place finish means she will not accomplish the unprecedented 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m triple crown, but she still has a chance of winning three medals of different colours, with the 10,000m final taking place on Saturday.