Dibaba re-writes Olympic history in 10,000m

Channels Television  
Updated August 4, 2012

Tirunesh Dibaba; a name that became known after she wrote Olympic history in Beijing by becoming the first woman to take both long distance titles at the Games she defended her 10,000m gold medal  four years ago.

Dibaba still 26 years old became the only Ethiopian woman in history who has won the 25 lap race at two Olympic Games in a row a unique achievement you’ll say.

Tirunesh, had once been inspired to start running by her cousin: Derartu Tulu and sine her 10,000m feat on Friday evening, these two have something special in common. Tulu is the only other woman to have won two Olympic 10,000m gold. But Tulu had not achieved this feat in consecutive Games. She won in 1992 and 2000.

You never know how far Dibaba can go in terms of history writing in the London 2012 Olympics as she may do the 500 metres next week only if Ethiopian officials decide to pick her for the race, you ask why? Dibaba was nominated as a reserve runner for the 5000 m in London with a season’s best of 14:50.80 minutes in the 5,000m; Dibaba is only number four in Ethiopia so far. That is why she is the reserve but the 10,000m gold medal winner in the 2012 Olympics, is ready to attempt the double again.

She said “I am ready for the 5,000 metres and will prepare for the heats,”

Dibaba said after the 10,000m race “I have never been happier than today – this is even better than in Beijing.”

She secured the gold medal with a great sprint in the final 500 metres. Improving her own world lead of 30:24.39 minutes to 30:20.75 she was well ahead of Kenyans Sally Kipyego (30:26.37) and Vivian Cheruiyot (30:30.44). Her hard working fellow Ethiopian Werknesh Kidane, who had increased the pace a couple of times, finished fourth with 30:39.38 minutes.

At the beginning of the year she would not have thought that such a comeback at the London Olympics would be possible. “After a series of injuries I never thought that I would be ready for the Games. I have surprised myself by making it,” said Dibaba.

While Dibaba had been absent last year Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot won the two long distance track gold medals at the World Championships in Daegu. ”

But according to Dibaba, before today’s race she was not afraid of the Kenyans who had started training professionally at the age of 14 and collected a total of 21 medals at the World Cross Country Championships so far.

Dibaba, who had only run two 10,000m races since her gold medal in Beijing: In 2010 she won the African Championships and this year she was first in Eugene with her world lead. In between she had been out for more than a year due to a stress fracture in her shin. Coming back with a win in the 10k race in Madrid at New Year’s Eve 2011 she continued doing well. She took the 2 miles at the Boston Indoors in February (9:21.60) and then won the ‘Carlsbad 5000’ on the road with 15:01. After that race she had already declared: “I am ready for the Olympics.”

“We had a team tactic. Our coaches had told us before the race to make it faster during the final couple of laps,” explained Tirunesh Dibaba, when questioned about the work Kidane put in. “I had planned to go ahead either 600 or 500 metres from the finish,. Since it was a fast race I decided to wait until 500m to go.”

Now the wife of Married to two-time Olympic silver medallist at 10,000m, Sileshi Sihine (2004 and 2008), Dibaba recalled that the training in Addis Ababa went very well. But at the same time there was some pressure building up and she was worried about that because she was not in her best form.

Dibaba had already won a 5000 m gold medal at the World Championships 2003 at the age of 17, when she became the youngest individual gold medal winner in the history of the event. Two years later she became the first runner to take both gold medals (5000m and 10,000m) at the World Championships.