Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Date Started: August 16, 2008
Date Finished: August 18, 2008
Kenya had won the gold medal in this event at every Olympics at which they had participated since 1968 â they boycotted 1976 and 1980. The defending champion [Ezekiel Kemboi] was back as was 2007 World Champion [Brimin Kipruto], with [Richard Mateelong], 2007 World bronze medalist, their third steepler. A medal sweep seemed possible as they had done in 1992 and 2004. The pace was not fast enough to drop any of the favorites in the final. At the bell everybody had a chance with Kipruto seventh as they started the final lap. But he moved up on the backstretch and was third at the water jump, trailing Matelong and France's unheralded [Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad]. Kipruto surged ahead as they exited the water and seemed on his way to an easy gold. But the unknown Mekhissi-Benabbad did not fold and closed within 0.15 seconds at the tape, Kipruto getting the gold and the Frenchman the silver. Matelong held on for another bronze, but the Kenyan sweep did not materialize as Kemboi faded to seventh. For Kenya, their dominance in this event is unprecedented in recent Olympic track & field history. Going back to 1968, they had competed nine times (of 11), and won nine times. They had swept the medals twice (1992/2004), and had finished one-two in 1968, 1972, 1988, 1996, 2000, and 2008. Of the 27 medals available to them since 1968, they had won 19.