As Sifan Hassan Attempts Olympic Triple, a Look at Historic Multi-Medalists


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Can Sifan Hassan earn 3 golds in Tokyo? She’s officially confirmed her bid for the Olympic distance triple on the monitor and has won the 1st of the 3 functions, the 5,000m — on the same day when she fell in the warmth of the 1500m, received back again up, and chased down the pack to earn.

Sifan Hassan has made a decision to involve the one,500m in her campaign for Olympic glory. The 2019 Entire world Winner, who doubled and won both of those the one,500m and ten,000m will showcase her variety once more at the Tokyo Olympic Game titles,” explained a press statement from her agency, Global Athletics Communications, released Sunday night. “She seems to be ahead to tackling the massive feat and desires to challenge herself in her most loved distances.”

No runner has at any time won the 5,000m, one,500m, and ten,000m at the same Olympics.  That treble would permit Hassan phase on to a incredibly distinctive podium, with Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zátopek, and other multi-victory giants whose golden shadows nevertheless shimmer over the Tokyo monitor.

Olympic Trebles

Paavo Nurmi was completely ready for the same treble as Hassan in 1924, and a lot more. In Paris, he won the 1500m, and 5,000m,  in addition the 10K cross-place, and staff gold in that race. With four distance-jogging golds at just one Game titles he stands unmatched. But Finland’s staff administration remaining him out of the ten,000m, the place he would have been defending winner. Nurmi was so infuriated that though the Olympic race was in progress, he went to the instruction monitor and ran a solo ten,000m, speedier than his staff-mate Ville Ritola’s gold medal time in the stadium. That story may be Olympic urban legend, but with Nurmi, pushed as he was by Finnish sisu, it is entirely credible. Nurmi also won golds at ten,000m and cross-place in 1920, and ten,000m in 1928.

Czech Emil Zatopek leads during the Olympic 5000 meter race in Helsinki in 1952
Czech Emil Zatopek prospects all through the Olympic 5000 meter race in Helsinki in 1952 Image: AFP/Getty

Emil Zátopek also stands unmatched, for his 3 golds at 5,000m, ten,000m and the marathon in 1952. He alone has won the marathon and an additional gold at the same Game titles — two other golds in his case, an unmatched triple. On the monitor, the indefatigable Czech was named the “Colossus,” set 17 world records up to 30K, and in the 3-year establish up to the Game titles he compiled a streak of 69 wins over 5,000m and ten,000m. But the Olympic marathon was his 1st consider at the distance. Some debut! To earn it, Zátopek experienced to crack the heart of the world history holder, Jim Peters (GBR) by innocently asking a novice’s concerns about the speed, as they raced (with Swede Gustaf Jansson) a moment in advance of the relaxation of the discipline. Zátopek won by 2 minutes 32 seconds (2:23:03.2).

Hannes Kolehmainen wins the Olympic marathon in 1920.
Hannes Kolehmainen wins the Olympic marathon in 1920. Image: FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty

Hannes Kolehmainen (Finland) in 1912 also won 3 – 5,000m, ten,000m, and cross-place. Finland were edged by the Swedes for the cross-place staff title, depriving Kolehmainen of a 4th gold medal. To seal his location amongst the multi-victory legends, he won the marathon 8 a long time later, in the submit-Entire world War I Game titles in Antwerp in 1920. Trivia issue: which American won the 1920 Olympic marathon? Remedy: Kolehmainen at that date experienced turn out to be a U.S. citizen fully resident in New York Metropolis, but Olympic rules then did not allow switching nationwide affiliation, so possessing won for Finland in 1912, he a lot more reluctantly won for Finland once more in 1920.

Olympic Doubles

Lasse Viren running in the final of the Olympic 10,000 meter race in 1972
Lasse Viren jogging in the last of the Olympic ten,000 meter race in 1972 Image: Bettmann Archive/Getty

Lasse Viren (Finland) took his distinctive location with a double double, winning the 5,000m/ten,000m two times, 1972 and 1976. To do that, he experienced to get over two generations of the fiercest opposition, outsmarting and outracing the likes of Miruts Yifter, Mohammed Gammoudi, Steve Prefontaine, Carlos Lopes, Brendan Foster, and Dick Quax. The greatest Viren race was the 1st of the four, the Munich ten,000. With Dave Bedford location world-history speed, Viren was tripped, crashed, fell to the monitor, received back again on his toes, chased, shut, took the guide at 6k, broke most of the discipline, and won by just one second in a world history-location 27:38.35. A single of sport’s excellent comeback stories, but for “Mr. Cool” Viren, only the 1st of four.

Mo Farah (GBR) emulated Viren’s double double, winning 5,000m and ten,000m in 2012 and 2016, demonstrating astounding capacity to manage each race to give scope to his unbeatable very last mile acceleration.

Hicham El Guerrouj and Eliud Kipchoge compete in the 5,000 meter final in 2004
Hicham El Guerrouj and Eliud Kipchoge contend in the 5,000 meter last in 2004 Image: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty

Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) in 2004 is the only runner other than Nurmi to bridge the center-distance/long-distance hole by winning the doubly demanding 1500m/5,000m double. Like Viren, he really experienced to work for it, possessing to conquer Bernard Lagat (then Kenya) in the shorter race, and double-hungry Kenenisa Bekele over 5,000m, with a youthful Kenyan named Eliud Kipchoge in 3rd.  Guerrouj was outlined by his kick, and how precisely he employed it. The total margin of those two victories was .32sec (.twelve and .20). Blink after and earn two Olympic gold medals!

Tirunesh Dibaba Kenene competes in the 5000 meter final at the Beijing Olympics in 2008
Tirunesh Dibaba Kenene competes in the 5000 meter last at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 Image: Stu Forster/Getty

Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) is the only woman to double at long-distances, taking the 5,000m and ten,000m at Beijing in 2008. She followed up by repeating at ten,000m in 2012, in addition 3rd in the 5,000m, and a ten,000m bronze in 2016. She was also just one of history’s most immaculate cross-place runners. What a treble she could have given us, if cross-place experienced been back again in its deserved location on the Olympic schedule. Gals of training course have experienced incredibly confined chance to be part of this distinctive club, with the full variety of distance functions not obtainable until eventually 1996 (and the steeplechase not until 2008). The only other women’s double so significantly was by Kelly Holmes (GBR), 800m/1500m in 2004.

Length Double Honor Roll

Surprisingly, doubles have been accomplished (which include 800/1500) by 16 runners at 17 Olympic Game titles.

Listed here is the full honors list, in chronological purchase:

1896 Teddy Flack (Australia) 800/1500   

1904 James Lightbody (United states of america) 800/1500

1908 Mel Sheppard (United states of america) 800/1500

1912 Hannes Kolehmainen (Finland) 5,000/ten,000/cross-place

1920 Albert Hill (GBR) 800/1500

1924 Paavo Nurmi (Finland) ten,000/cross-place/XC staff

1928 Paavo Nurmi 1500/5,000/cross-place/XC staff

1952 Emil Zátopek (Czech) 5,000/ten,000/marathon

1956 Vladimir Kuts (USSR) 5,000/ten,000

1964 Peter Snell (New Zealand) 800/1500

1972 Lasse Viren (Finland) 5,000/ten,000

1976 Lasse Viren 5,000/ten,000

1980 Miruts Yifter (Ethiopia) 5,000/ten,000

2004 Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 1500/5,000

2004 Kelly Holmes (GBR) W800/1500

2008 Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) 5,000/ten,000

2008 Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) W5,000/ten,000

2012 Mo Farah (GBR) 5,000/ten,000

2016 Mo Farah (GBR) 5,000/ten,000

Roger Robinson tells running’s greatest stories in his acclaimed When Functioning Made Heritage and forthcoming (2022) Running’s Greatest Tales.