Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has won gold in the men’s marathon at the Rio Games. Kipchoge did so with a dominant performance in rainy conditions, 12 years after he won his first Olympic medal – at a shorter distance.
Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line in 2 hours 8 minutes and 44 seconds, 1 minute and 10 seconds ahead of Feyisa Lilesa of Ethopia, who took silver. This was the largest winning margin in the men’s Olympic marathon since 1972. Galen Rupp of the United States took bronze.
Kipchoge made his move after the 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) mark , gradually putting distance between himself and a pack of about a dozen other runners. He firmly separated himself from Lilesa and Rupp with around eight kilometers (five miles) to go. Rupp came within eight seconds of Lilesa for the silver, but had to settle for the bronze – the first medal for the United States in the Marathon since 2004.
“It was a championship and it was a bit slow so I decided to take over,” he said. “Maybe it was the rain, maybe not. Everyone wants a medal. I was coming here for gold.”
The 31-year-old Kipchoge finished well off his time at the London marathon in April, but easily added to the bronze medal that he won in the 5,000 meters in Athens in 2004 and the silver in Beijing in 2008. Following those two Olympic Games, Kipchoge shifted his focus to the marathon.
Sunday’s gold medal marked Kipchoge’s seventh win in his last eight marathons.
Kipchoge’s victory came a week after fellow Kenyan Jemima Jelagat Sumgong won gold in the women’s marathon, making this the first time at the Olympics that both races have been won by the runners from the same country.
pfd/dv (dpa, Reuters)