Sifan Hassan’s audacious quest for three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics hit a roadblock in the 1500-meter final, as she was outsprinted by Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and Laura Muir of Great Britain.

Kipyegon, 27, the reigning Olympic champion, took the lead on the final backstretch and won in a convincing 3:53.11, an Olympic record. Muir, 28, after years of coming close to global medals but always missing the stand, finally has one to savor, a silver. She finished in 3:54.50, a national record.

Hassan of the Netherlands was third in 3:55.86. She has the 10,000 meters still to race on August 7, should she elect to remain in the race. She already won gold at the 5,000 meters.

More From Runner's World
preview for HDM All Sections Playlist - Runners World US

Kipyegon and Hassan ran side by side at the front from 250 meters on, covering the first 400 meters in a blistering 62.84 and 800 meters in 2:07.1. Kipyegon made it look easy, running away from Hassan as she entered the final curve and padding her lead down the homestretch.

“I was feeling fresh,” Kipyegon said of her decision to make a move on the backstretch. “And I thought to myself, it’s time to go now, because I knew other runners are very strong in the home straight. And I know it’s time to go.”

Muir launched her furious kick past Hassan at the top of the final curve. Years of frustration evaporated as she crossed the line.

“Missing out in global finals since 2015, coming fourth, fifth twice, sixth, and seventh and then my first global medal, not only to be an Olympic one but for it to be silver and against the caliber of that field as well is just, and a British record just to top too, I couldn’t be happier,” Muir said.

Join Runner’s World+ to stay up to date on the Tokyo Olympics!

She explained her tears at the finish. “I knew I was going to cry, whether I got a medal or whether I didn’t get a medal,” she said. “So it was always going to end in tears, but I’m just so happy. It was happy tears. Yeah, [it] has been a lot of sad years.”

Freweyni Gebreezibeher of Ethiopia was fourth in 3:57.60, nearly two full seconds behind the medalists. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford of Canada, who trains in Portland, Oregon, with the Bowerman Track Club, was fifth in 3:58.93.

American Elle Purrier St. Pierre, who seemed at times during this season as if she could contend for a medal, was never in the mix after the first lap. She finished 10th in 4:01.75, well off the personal best she ran in June in winning the U.S. Olympic Trials. The other American in the field, Cory McGee, who was advanced to the final after a fall in her semifinal heat, was 12th in 4:05.50.

After winning gold in Rio and again at the world championships in 2017 in the 1500, Kipyegon took time off to have a baby. Her daughter, Alyn, was born in June 2018. Kipyegon, who trains with marathoner Eliud Kipchoge’s group in Kaptagat, Kenya, regained her form throughout 2019 and finished second to Hassan at the world championships in Doha, the last global meet championship meet before the pandemic. Muir was fifth in that race.

In July, Kipyegon showed she was all the way back, when she outdueled Hassan at the Monaco Diamond League meet, winning the 1500 in a best time of 3:51.07.

“I dedicate this to my daughter,” Kipyegon said. “This is really special, winning as a mum. She was watching and I know she is really happy, excited, when I go back to the village I’m going to call her and we talk more.”

Kipyegon said she might make a run at the world record, 3:50.07, set by Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia in 2015. “I’m going to try and probably, I hope for the best,” Kipyegon said. “And I hope I will manage, and I will thank God.”

While much of the focus in the women’s distance races has been on Hassan’s pursuit of three golds, Muir tried to keep the light on Kipyegon.

“Yeah, I mean, in my eyes, she’s the boss,” Muir said. “I’m probably a little biased but she’s the greatest 1500-meter runner there’s ever been. I don’t think she gets enough credit for the athlete that she is; she’s won everything. She won the last Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealths, she won World Juniors when I was there. From a very young age, she’s been a very high-quality athlete and I've got a lot of respect for her. I’m very, very happy to see her win an Olympic gold medal and honored to be behind her now.”

—Cathal Dennehy contributed reporting from Tokyo.

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.