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Rio track recap: Why the day one morning session was jaw-dropping

Today kicked off the track portion of the Rio Olympics. It was an absolutely incredible day. Read the highlights here.

Almaz Ayana

Women’s 10,000m

The women’s 10,000m was not just the big news of the day– it’s one of the huge stories of the 2016 Olympics and in the sport of distance running in general. This race made history and was one of the best 10,000m races that has ever happened. The results of this one were a shock. While we knew that Almaz Ayana was likely to win it, she smashed the 23-year-old record which was completely unexpected. And it’s not like she shaved off part of a second either– she hacked it down by 14 seconds in her jaw-dropping run. Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya placed second and she herself got close to the old record with a 29:32.53. It’s hard to believe that we saw a new 10,000m record for Kenya today and it didn’t even win gold. Tirunesh Dibaba ran 29:42.56 and can now celebrate a sub-30, a PB and an Olympic bronze.

Read the full race report here and see how social media users reacted here.

The Canadian angle:

This was a big event for Canadians with Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak representing the country. The two women stepped onto the track for the 25-lap race and it was hard to predict which athlete would make it to the finish first as they go back and forth so frequently. In the end it was Wodak who ran an incredible race to make Canadians proud. Wodak was number 22 to cross the finish running 31:53.14. She should be proud of her sub-32 finish. Marchant placed 25th with a 32:04.21 time. She’s not done though– the marathon happens on Sunday morning.

RELATED: What’s in Lanni Marchant’s race bag?

Men’s 800m heats

The men’s 800m preliminary heats took place in Rio today. To advance, the men competing had to land themselves in the top three to progress to the semi-finals which will go ahead tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. Big names to watch were David Rudisha, Ayanleh Souleiman and Nijel Amos.

One of the big surprises today was that the silver medal runner from London 2012– Amos– did not make it to the next round.

The Canadian angle:

The Canadian to watch in the 800m is Brandon McBride. He’s had a killer season as he joined the sub 1:44 club this year and got close to the Canadian record. McBride stepped onto the track and took the lead immediately with an incredibly strong start. He was inside 52 seconds at the start of the bell lap looking strong and comfortably in the lead. No other runner in the heat came anywhere near him and he took first place easily while holding his form to clock a 1:45.99. It was a strong run for McBride– he looked strong and took first place in the heat without struggle. He now moves onto the semi-finals, which take place at 9:08 p.m. EDT on Sunday. The finals are slotted in for Monday at 9:25 p.m. EDT.

Women’s heptathlon

The women’s heptathlon kicked off today. Between today and tomorrow, the athletes will compete in seven events starting with the 100m hurdles and high jump. Up in the evening is the 200m and shot put to make for a jam-packed day. The big names here are Jessica Ennis Hill of Great Britain and Brianne Theisen-Eaton– a Canadian. After the first two events, Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson Thompson leads with 2,264 points.

The Canadian angle:

The favourite for the event is the Canadian — Theisen Eaton. She is an incredibly strong and talented athlete. Early on in the day, the women competed in the high jump portion where Theisen-Eaton set a season’s best at her first attempt when she cleared 1.86 at her first attempt. She was unable to make the 1.89 jump. Her husband is Ashton Eaton– the world’s best decathlete– who watched her from the front row as she tried to clear 1.89. As for the portion on the track, she completed the 100m hurdles in 13.18– a slower time for her in the event. Right now, she sits fifth with 2,151 points so she’ll have to make a comeback if she wants to be competitive for gold but she has five more events to make that happen.