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Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha fractures ankle, can’t train for 3 months

The 800m world record-holder's agent said he won't return to training for at least 12 weeks

Photo: Erik van Leeuwen (GNU Free Documentation License) Photo by: Erik van Leeuwen

Two-time Olympic and world 800m champion David Rudisha underwent ankle surgery in Eldoret, Kenya, to repair a fracture he sustained earlier in May. His agent, Michel Boeting, tweeted the news, stating that Rudisha will have to put his training on hold for three months, although he still intends to compete at the Tokyo Olympics next summer. Rudisha has had a difficult few years since his 800m gold at the Rio Games, and he hasn’t been competed since mid-2017. Just as he was getting back into things this year, misfortune struck again, and he will now have to wait for his ankle to heal before getting back to building toward Tokyo 2021.

Bad luck

In his tweet explaining Rudisha’s situation, Boeting said his client twisted his ankle on May 19 at his home in Kenya. Rudisha stepped on uneven ground and thought he had just twisted his ankle. He rested it, only performing exercises that would not exacerbate the injury, but after a few days with no improvement, he had a doctor take a look and was diagnosed with a fracture. Rudisha won’t resume training for at least three months.

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Hard times

In August 2016, Rudisha was on top of the world after repeating as Olympic champion in the 800m. After Rio, he started on a downward spiral, beginning with a divorce. In 2017, he sustained an injury that forced him to skip the world championships in London and that has kept him sidelined since. In March 2019, his father, Olympic silver medallist Daniel Rudisha, passed away from a heart attack. Later that year, Rudisha was involved in a car accident in Kenya. Luckily, he and everyone in the bus were OK.

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World’s best

Rudisha was the most dominant 800m runner in the 2010s, winning world championships in 2011 and 2015, Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016 and setting the world record of 1:40.91 at the London Games. Injury prevented him from defending his world championship titles in 2013 and 2017, but it’s fair to say he could have upped his gold medal count to four had he been healthy in those years. After returning from his latest injury, he will look to make his third Olympic Games, undoubtedly with an eye on a third gold medal as well.

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The bright side

Rudisha has had a lot of misfortune in the last four years, but there’s one bit of luck on his side when it comes to the postponed Olympics. Had the Tokyo Games not been postponed for a full year, he wouldn’t have been able to compete this summer as originally planned. Now, if his recovery goes well, he can get back to training by the early fall, and he’ll have 10 months to work toward the 2021 Summer Games.