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2004 Olympic Games Athens - Men's 5000 m



Host City: Athina, Greece Format: Top five in each heat and next five fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 25, 2004  
Date Finished: August 28, 2004  
(Competitors: 36; Countries: 23; Finalists: 15)  
    Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Maroussi
Overview by IAAF   2004-athens-stadium.jpg 
Here was the setting for a great race, featuring the winners of the Athens 1500m and m, and the 2003 World Champion (Kipchoge). All negotiated the heats safely with 13:24.98 the slowest qualifying time. As in the Athens 1500m, no-one wanted the pace-setting duty, and 2:58.46 was the time at the kilometre mark. Chebii was the first to crack, and he put in a 61.5 fourth lap. Bekele and Kipchoge then moved to the front, with laps of 63.4 and 60.5. The 3000m point was passed in 8:10.89, and instead of putting more pressure on El Guerrouj, the leaders eased off slightly – with the fourth kilo taking 2:37.73 compared with the previous one of 2:34.90. As the leaders approached the bell, only five were in contention – Bekele, Kipchoge, El Guerrouj, Gebremariam and Berhanu. Bekele went past Kipchoge with 250m to go and El Guerrouj went by the Kenyan with 120m left. The two champions sprinted down the finishing straight and El Guerrouj powered past Bekele with 40m remaining, winning by just over a metre. In so doing El Guerrouj became the first man since Nurmi in 1924 to win the 1500m/5000m double, though not in one afternoon as the Finn did.
Summary by      
The final here matched the 1,500 gold medalist, Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR), and the 10K gold medalist, Kenenisa Bekele (ETH). Also present was the 2003 World Champion, Eliud Kipchoge (KEN). The pace in the final was very slow, passing the kilometer in 2:58.46. Bekele and Kipchoge then took the lead and increased the pace, but strangely slowed after 3,000. Five runners were together at the bell, but El Guerrouj was sitting on the shoulders of Bekele and Kipchoge and they had no chance to match his speed. Bekele took the lead over Kipchoge on the backstretch and El Guerrouj caught Bekele near the end of the curve. Bekele actually fought hard to hang on in the final stretch but could never close the gap, El Guerrouj winning the gold and Bekele the silver, Kipchoge hanging on for third.


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 12:37.35 Hengelo, Netherlands 31 May 2004
Olympic record  Saïd Aouita (MAR) 13:05.59 Los Angeles, United States 11 August 1984

No new records were set during the competition.


The qualification period for athletics was 1 January 2003 to 9 August 2004. For the men's 1500 metres, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 13:21.50 or faster during the qualification period. If an NOC had no athletes that qualified under that standard, one athlete that had run the race in 13:25.40 or faster could be entered.

The men's 5,000 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of the athletics program were held at the Athens Olympic Stadium on August 25 and 28.

The final witnessed an epic clash between two track greats from different generations: in his final competitive international race, 1500m champion and track legend Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco and 10,000 meter Olympic champion, world record holder at the distance and rising star 21-year-old Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.

Despite finding himself boxed in with only 200 metres remaining and trailing Bekele by several metres, El Guerrouj ran down and overhauled the Ethiopian in the final stride to win by just two tenths of a second. With this, El Guerrouj set a historic milestone as the first ever athlete to strike a distance double (1500–5000) since Paavo Nurmi did so in 1924, denying Bekele a chance to do the Olympic 5000 and 10000 m double – which he would ultimately win four years later in Beijing
28 AUG 2004 General News Athens, Greece

Men's 5000m Final

Hicham El Guerrouj made history in the Olympic stadium here tonight, becoming only the second man in history to win gold in both the 1500m and 5000m at one Olympic Games.

Eight years after his heart-breaking fall in the Atlanta 1500m final, eight long years waiting for his career defining first Olympic gold, and the Moroccan who has dominated the world of middle distance running for nearly a decade now has two Olympic titles. Tonight he completed the most difficult double of them all, surpassing the achievement of his compatriot Said Aouita, who won the 5000m gold 20 years ago.

El Guerrouj ran a tactically perfect race to strike gold for a second time in five days and put his name into the record books alongside the great Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi, the only other man to win gold medals straddling the middle and long distances at one Games.

It was billed as a battle between the double chasers – El Guerrouj and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the man who became 10,000m champion in such dramatic style eight days ago. And at the end of 12 and a half nervous, tentative laps it all came down to the last 100m. Two men renowned for their finishing kicks entered the home straight stride for stride and battled for the line.

Hardly anyone had expected Bekele to lose, so dominant has he been in recent years, but the pace of the race was too slow to take the spark out of El Guerrouj’s legs and it was the miler who had the greater strength. El Guerrouj gradually pulled away over the last 30m and held on for victory in 13:14.39.

Bekele finished second, just two tenths behind, with Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge taking the bronze another 11 hundredths adrift of the Ethiopian. The long distance specialists paid for the slow early pace. Bekele’s World record stands at 12:37.35.

It started slowly, very slowly. Bekele took the early lead but was unwilling to make the pace. After two laps, Gebre Gebremariam moved to the front to try and increase the pace, passing 1k in 2:58.46, and holding the lead for 600m. Kenya’s Abraham Chebii took over briefly, increasing the speed gradually, but El Guerrouj was still comfortable in seventh, hugging the curb as if it was his line to glory.

They strode through 2000 in 5:35.99 and with seven to go Bekele kicked on, putting in a 60.97 lap. But again it wasn’t decisive. A single file of seven were strung out behind him, including Kipchoge and Australia’s Craig Mottram.

Bekele led at 3000 in 8:10.81, until Kipchoge took over with three and half to go. They skipped through 4000 in 10:48.62, but El Guerroiuj was still on the curb. Kipchoge and Bekele hit the bell together and El Guerrouj appeared to be boxed by Gebremariam. But down the back straight he pulled onto the Kenyan’s shoulder, and attacked Bekele. They entered the straight together and for a dozen straining strides it looked like anyone’s race. But the Moroccan had history in his sights.

As he crossed the line El Guerrouj threw his hands in the air, stared at a TV camera and put up two fingers. “Now I have two! Two!” he seemed to be saying.

Nourredine Morceli, the great Algerian athlete who won that 1500m race back in Atlanta, was watching from the stands tonight. “To make that double at these Games is amazing,” he said. “Hicham is such a great athlete and such a great man too. He deserves it. He has a great talent and great desire to win.

“He has carried that sadness for eight years but he never gave up. Now he is a true successor to Nurmi.”

How true.

5000 m Men     Final 28 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.14.39     Hicham El Guerrouj Morocco MAR 14 Sep 74  
2 13.14.59     Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia ETH 13 Jun 82  
3 13.15.10     Eliud Kipchoge Kenya KEN 5 Nov 84  
4 13.15.35     Gebregziabher Gebremariam Ethiopia ETH 10 Sep 84  
5 13.16.92     Dejene Berhanu Ethiopia ETH 12 Nov 80  
6 13.18.24     John Kibowen Kenya KEN 21 Apr 69  
7 13.24.31     Zersenay Tadese Eritrea ERI 8 Feb 82  
8 13.25.70     Craig Mottram Australia AUS 18 Jun 80  
9 13.31.81     Hicham Bellani Morocco MAR 15 Sep 79  
10 13.32.57     Ali Saïdi-Sief Algeria ALG 15 Mar 78  
11 13.33.06     Tim Broe United States USA 20 Jun 77  
12 13.43.06     Alistair Cragg Ireland IRL 13 Jun 80  
13 13.47.27     Abderrahim Goumri Morocco MAR 21 May 76  
14 14.02.01     Samir Moussaoui Algeria ALG 15 May 75  
  DNF     Abraham Chebii Kenya KEN 23 Dec 79  
25 AUG 2004 General News Athens, Greece

Men's 5000m - Semi-Finals

Just 20 hours and one sleepless night after his historic 1500m victory Hicham El Guerrouj returned the track this evening for the opening rounds of the men’s 5000m. Also returning to the stadium for the first time since his own epic triumph was Ethiopia’s 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele. Two of the Games’ outstanding gold medallists going head-for-head, each seeking a distance running double with historic associations for Olympic track and field.

It is billed as the classic meeting of the miler and the long distance specialist over 5000, and somehow the organisers conspired to put them in the same semi-final. The clash of the titans, round one.

Well, not exactly a clash, more a gentle training run with no talking. They eyed each other up, tracked each others moves, and trod carefully clear of any trouble. Both went through, of course, using as little effort as possible, and only as much as necessary. In the final on Saturday things will be a whole lot different.

For one thing, they’ll be up against the man who beat both of them in the 5000m at the World championships in Paris last year, for Eliud Kipchoge also qualified with expected ease, from the slightly faster second heat.

The early lead in the first semi was taken by Guenther Weidlinger of Austria, with Ukraine’s Sergiy Lebid behind him. El Guerrouj was stalking Bekele, lying third and fourth, and they stayed in virtually the same position for most of the entire race. Weidlinger led them through 1k in 2:41.86, and then he, Lebid and Switzerland’s Christian Belz took their turns in front. Kenya’s Abraham Chebii was now tracking the two principals, with another Ethiopian, Gebre Gebremariam, and Australia’s Craig Mottram also well positioned.

Weidlinger took them through 2k in 5:22.21 and 3k in 8:07.42. No-one, it seems, was prepared to test El Guerrouj’s fitness after his exertions last night. Spain’s Carlos Garcia dropped out with five laps to go, as Lebid slipped off the back of the pack. 600m later Bekele moved to the front, with El Guerrouj in tow. Chebii took them through 4k in 10:53.34 but the pace didn’t really increase until, with 600 to go, Bekele made another move.

It was he who led at the bell, followed by El Guerrouj, Gebremariam, Mottram and Chebii. These were now clear and, after El Guerrouj briefly challenged bekele down the back straight, all cruised home comfortably to claim the five automatic qualifying places.

Bekele was first across the line, in 13:21.16, with Gebremariam in second, just four hundredths behind. El Guerrouj, third in 13:21.87, immediately went to a lane marker on the side of the track where he sat down, removed his shoes and examined the soles of his feet. He had been given shoes that were too small for him, he explained later, and they were hurting his feet.

“I have new shoes coming in for Saturday’s race so I should be all right,” he said.

Predictably, the second semi was quicker. Ireland’s Mark Carroll took the early lead, setting a brisk pace with Kipchoge in second. Ethiopia’s Dejene Berhanu and 10,000m bronze medallist Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea were also there.

That’s the way it stayed through 2k (5:24.90) but the pace then slowed, dropping behind that set in the first heat. Sensing this, Norway’s Marius Bakken took up the running, with USA’s Tim Broe helping out. Carroll was now off the back.

Broe picked up the pace again with just over 1000m to go. He led through 4k in 10:52.69, while Kipchoge shadowed his every move. With 700m left the World champion hit the front, with Broe, Berhanu and Algeria’s Ali Saidi Sief following.

It was the Algerian who crossed the line first, in 13:18.94, with Kipchoge just seven hundredths behind. Berhanu, Kenya’s John Kibowen and Morocco’s Abderrahim Goumri took the other automatic places. Broe and Tadesse made the final as fastest losers.

5000 m Men     Heat 1 25 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.21.16   Q Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia ETH 13 Jun 82  
2 13.21.20   Q Gebregziabher Gebremariam Ethiopia ETH 10 Sep 84  
3 13.21.87   Q Hicham El Guerrouj Morocco MAR 14 Sep 74  
4 13.21.88   Q Craig Mottram Australia AUS 18 Jun 80  
5 13.22.30   Q Abraham Chebii Kenya KEN 23 Dec 79  
6 13.22.64   Q Hicham Bellani Morocco MAR 15 Sep 79  
7 13.23.01   Q Alistair Cragg Ireland IRL 13 Jun 80  
8 13.24.98   Q Samir Moussaoui Algeria ALG 15 May 75  
9 13.26.52     Sultan Khamis Zaman Qatar QAT 23 Jul 85  
10 13.26.81     John Mayock Great Britain GBR 26 Oct 70  
11 13.29.32     Günther Weidlinger Austria AUT 5 Apr 78  
12 13.29.59     Christian Belz Switzerland SUI 11 Sep 74  
13 13.35.32     Alejandro Suárez Mexico MEX 30 Nov 80  
14 13.38.79     Jonathon Riley United States USA 29 Dec 78  
15 13.42.04     Abdulhak Zakaria Bahrain BRN 20 Jul 74  
16 14.03.58     Monder Rizki Belgium BEL 16 Aug 79  
17 14.10.23     Serhiy Lebid Ukraine UKR 15 Jul 75  
  DNF     Carlos García Spain ESP 21 Aug 75  
5000 m Men     Heat 2 25 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.18.94   Q Ali Saïdi-Sief Algeria ALG 15 Mar 78  
2 13.19.01   Q Eliud Kipchoge Kenya KEN 5 Nov 84  
3 13.19.42   Q Dejene Berhanu Ethiopia ETH 12 Nov 80  
4 13.19.65   Q John Kibowen Kenya KEN 21 Apr 69  
5 13.20.03   Q Abderrahim Goumri Morocco MAR 21 May 76  
6 13.20.29   Q Tim Broe United States USA 20 Jun 77  
7 13.22.17   Q Zersenay Tadese Eritrea ERI 8 Feb 82  
8 13.26.97     Samson Kiflemariam Eritrea ERI 23 Jan 84  
9 13.27.71     Roberto García Spain ESP 20 Aug 75  
10 13.29.37     Khoudir Aggoune Algeria ALG 5 Jan 81  
11 13.31.89     Fabiano Joseph Naasi Tanzania TAN 24 Dec 85  
12 13.36.38     Marius Bakken Norway NOR 27 Mar 78  
13 13.42.44     Freddy González Venezuela VEN 7 Oct 77  
14 13.43.44     Tom Compernolle Belgium BEL 13 Nov 75  
15 13.46.81     Mark Carroll Ireland IRL 15 Jan 72  
16 13.49.16     Carles Castillejo Spain ESP 18 Aug 78  
17 13.50.00     Michael Aish New Zealand NZL 24 Jul 76  
18 14.04.89     Rajendra Bahadur Bhandari Nepal NEP 13 Nov 76 NR




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