Sifan Hassan Establishes His Domination in Tokyo

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TOKYO – At the end of a grueling 24,500m run in six races over nine days, Dutch Sifan Hassan fell in disbelief before standing up alone.

On Saturday, Hassan won the women’s 10,000 meters at the Tokyo Games, a phenomenal success, and won medals in three grueling events: the 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters.

He cried on the medal podium for the third and final time.

“And it wasn’t a medal,” he said. “I was done. It was a relief. I guess I’m a little crazy?”

On the final night of athletics at the Olympics, Hassan threw a wild kick into the 10,000m bell lap, separating himself from Bahraini’s Kalkidan Gezahegne and Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, who finished second. The world record in the event was held by Gidey, but even he could not compete with Hassan, who finished with 29 minutes 55.32 seconds.

“I trained for four years thinking about it all the time,” he said.

Hassan, 28, was born in Ethiopia but came to the Netherlands as a refugee in 2008. He is currently spoken of as one of the greatest distance runners in Olympic history.

HE He won the gold medal in the 5,000 meters. He took the bronze in the 1,500m on Monday, followed by the bronze on Friday. Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon defended her title at the 2016 Olympics, trying to pick up the pace in that race before she was late. Later, Hasan said that he was satisfied.

“I tried my best,” he said, “but I couldn’t do more than that.”

Even trying to get a medal in three tax events was considered pretty ridiculous, even among fellow athletes. Emily Sisson of the USA, who finished 10th in the 10,000m, said she was “shocked” to learn that Hassan had participated in all three races.

“It’s on another level,” Sisson said.

Hassan said he spent the week and a half struggling with an internal monologue characterized by confidence and suspicion in equal measure.

“It’s possible,” he said to himself. But then he would hear her say, just as quickly, “No, that’s not possible.” Fueled by one emotion in particular.

“I think I have enough fears,” he said. “I think fear makes you strong.”

He also flirted with disaster. He pinched a muscle in his leg while warming up for qualifying heat in the 5,000m, an injury that the management team said had plagued him throughout the Olympics. It then crashed in the first-lap heat of 1,500—no less. But as a sign that he was going to get stronger, he stood up and chased the rest of the field to win and move forward.

“Every day was stressful,” she said. And tired. So tired. He was relieved on Saturday as he had one race left to focus on. In a way, his mind was not scattered for 10,000 meters. It showed.

The race became a slogan of attrition in the hot and sweltering conditions. The three runners left early. The lead pack was later reduced to five, then to four. As the carnage unfolded, Hassan hid behind Kenyan Gidey and Hellen Obiri, who were just ahead of Gezahegne in fourth place. In the end, Obiri succumbed to the elements and the tempo and fell behind as well.

On the first turn of the last lap, Hassan pulled himself over Gidey’s right shoulder and sped away – straight into history.

Talia Minsberg contributing reporting.

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