Kenenisa Bekele. Call him the emperor, call him the King. Maybe just call him magnificent. Magnificent Bekele was in the Bird’s Nest stadium Saturday, winning the 5000 metres in an Olympic record 12 minutes 57.82 seconds to become the first man to achieve the Olympic distance double since one of his great Ethiopian predecessors, Miruts Yifter, in Moscow in 1980.
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Before that, the greatest of the modern-day Finns, Lasse Viren had won the double two Olympics in a row, but times have changed as the ever-increasing speed of the two events makes them very different, rather than much the same.
Bekele, though, used his own variation of Viren’s tactics in 1976 to take the gold medal. Then Viren ran the speed out of the faster finishers after a slow first 3000 metres, accelerating lap by lap and never conceding the lead.
Bekele, too, faced men liken Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Ediwn Soi and world champion Bernard Lagat of the USA who could slip by him in the fnal straight in an even-paced or slow race. So, having used his teammates, younger brother Tariku and Abreham Cherkos, to control the first part of the race, ‘Kenny’ pushed for home on his own five laps out.
Bang, the second gun went off, and he ran 60 seconds, 61.3, 60.8, 60.9 and then sub-55 to totally destroy any chance the faster finishers had. In fact, they had gone by the bell. Kipchoge took second in 13:02.80 and Soi was third in 13:06.22. Whether they had a final kick left, no-one really noticed, or cared.
Source: The Sun-Herald