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Athletics at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games:

Men's 5,000 metres

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Events:

Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Date Started: August 20, 2008
Date Finished: August 23, 2008

Gold: ETH Kenenisa Bekele
Silver: KEN Eliud Kipchoge
Bronze: KEN Edwin Soi

Summary

[Kenenisa Bekele] was considered the greatest distance runner in the world and also a worthy successor to the line of [Paavo Nurmi], [Emil Zátopek], and [Lasse Viren] as one of the greatest ever. He was a heavy favorite and had already won the 10K six days before the 5,000 final. His main rival was probably [Bernard Lagat], a former Kenyan who now ran for the United States, and who had won the 5K at the 2007 World Championships. But Lagat was not at his best in Beijing and would finish only ninth in the final. And even at his best, Bekele was the better runner. He had held the world record since May 2004, and had won 11 International Cross-Country titles since 2003 (short- and long-course). With Lagat in the final, who had good finishing speed, Bekele ran with his brother, [Tariku Bekele], and they set a fast early pace. At 3,000 metres, Bekele strung the field out with a 60-second lap. He continued to push the pace for the next few laps. By the final backstretch the race was over, and Bekele closed in 54.0 to win by almost five seconds. He ran his last 1,600 in 3:57.0, and his last five laps in 4:57.0. Behind him the medals went to two Kenyans, [Eliud Kipchoge] (silver) and [Edwin Soi] (bronze). Having now won the 10,000 in both 2004 and 2008, and doubling in the 5K/10K at one Olympic Games, Bekele joined Nurmi, Zátopek, and Viren as the only distance runners to have pulled off that double/double.

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