The men’s marathon will close out the Olympic Games on Sunday in Rio. Canadians Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis are among those in the field who will take on the gruelling yet iconic 42.195K distance on the streets of Rio.
The marathon begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT. To get you ready for the Olympic finale, here are some of the great moments in Olympic marathon history. A full men’s marathon preview will follow before tomorrow morning’s big race.
Gabriela Andersen-Schiess avoids collapse to finish marathon to finish 1984 Olympics
The Swiss runner is best known for her near-collapse in the Olympic stadium in Los Angeles as she was battling cramps due to the heat. Medical personnel did not attend to her until after she crossed the finish line to prevent her from being disqualified.
It took her almost six minutes to complete the final lap of the 400m track at the finish of the marathon.
Paula Radcliffe drops out of the 2004 Olympics
The world record holder in the women’s marathon and the favourite to win gold at the 2004 Olympics, Paula Radcliffe dropped out and did not finish. She was taking high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs to fight against a injury she sustained just weeks before the race. The intake ended up giving her stomach problems leading to her eventual drop-out.
Radcliffe went on to finish 23rd in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Joan Benoit Samuelson’s victory at the 1984 Olympics in the women’s marathon debut
The women’s marathon made its debut at the Olympics in 1984 at the Los Angeles Games. American Joan Benoit Samuelson won the inaugural event in front of a home crowd and made history as the first-ever winner of the women’s marathon at the Olympics.
Sammy Wanjiru’s incredible run at the 2008 Olympics
Fallecía la persona. Nacía el mito.
De no morir en 2011, hoy hubiese cumplido 29 años el gran Sammy Wanjiru. pic.twitter.com/BKyC5YEiZh
— SoyCobarde.com (@SoyCobarde2) November 10, 2015
Kenyan Sammy Wanjiru became the first Kenyan to ever win the Olympic marathon at the 2008 Games in Beijing. In scorching heat, the late Kenyan ran the Olympic record in the men’s marathon with a 2:06:32. He died at 24. Jemima Sumgong won Kenya’s first gold in the women’s marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Abebe Bikila wins back-to-back Olympic marathon in 1960 and 1964
Ethiopian Abebe Bikila won the 1960 Olympic marathon, the first held at night, in the same way he trained: Barefoot. He was a late addition to the team travelling to Rome and he couldn’t find any Adidas shoes that fit him properly.
He went on to defend his title four years later but used footwear in Tokyo.
Emil Zatopek does the triple at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki
Czechoslovakia’s Emil Zatopek won both the 5,000m and 10,000m at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki before deciding to enter the marathon at the last minute. In his first-ever attempt at the distance, Zatopek completed the long-distance triple that would be unheard of today. Some athletes, Lanni Marchant for example, do the long-distance double at the Olympics by running both the 10,000m and marathon.
Zatopek also won a gold and a silver at the 1948 Olympics in London before completing the historic triple.