In 2019, Sifan Hassan became the first athlete to achieve double gold in the 1,500m and 10,000m at the world championships in Doha. The 28-year-old is looking to improve on that feat in less than a week’s time as she eyes the triple crown in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
While many are skeptical that she can handle that kind of pressure, the Ethiopean-born Dutch athlete said in an interview with Capital Sports that the pressure in Tokyo will pale in comparison to the pressure she faced in Doha, when her coach, Alberto Salazar, was banned from coaching for four years on doping charges right before the competition.
“The hardest moment and pressure in my life was in Doha and I handled it,” she said. “Tokyo will not be hard.”
The schedule that will be required by Hassan in order to achieve the triple will make your legs burn just reading it. On August 2 she’ll run the 1,500m heats in the morning followed by the 5,000m final (which she is, by all accounts, a shoo-in to make) that evening. Two days later she’ll compete in the 1,500m semi-finals on August 4, and if she qualifies from there she’ll race the final on the 6th. Then, the very next day, she’ll race the 10,000m final on August 7. That’s five races in six days.
Winning triple gold won’t be easy for Hassan, if other athletes have anything to say about it. She’ll have Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon to contend with in the 1,500m, who is the reigning Olympic champion in the event and holds the current world-leading time of 3:51.07. Hassan will also have to take on Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey in the 10,000m, who wiped out her world record in June after it stood for only two days. If, however, Hassan does manage to pull this off, it will cement her as the most dominant distance runner the Olympics has ever seen.