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Steeplechase screwup at Oslo Diamond League

US athlete Coburn gets the situation rectified, still finishes second

Oslo Diamond League

Norwegian track officials have egg on their faces after one of the five barriers on the course in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase was discovered to be set six inches too high at Oslo’s Bislett Stadium yesterday.

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It was 2017 world champion and American record-holder Emma Coburn who knew immediately that the barrier was too high, and, without slowing her pace, began waving her arms and calling out to her husband and coach, Joe Bosshard, that there was a problem. Several runners had difficulty getting over the barrier.


Steeplechase barriers are set a full six inches higher for men (36 inches, or 0.914m) than for women (30 inches or 0.762m). Track officials had inadvertently set one barrier at the men’s height.

Without stopping the race, track officials were able to lower the barrier to the correct height, but they were not completely successful until the final lap.

Coburn still managed to finish in 9:09.70 for second place, only 0.07 seconds behind 2016 Olympic silver medallist and 2017 world championship bronze medallist Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya (9:09.63).