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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 5000 m



Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top four in each heat and next three fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 20, 2008  
Date Finished: August 23, 2008  
(Competitors: 39; Countries: 25; Finalists: 15)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
None of the heats were quick, with Matt Tegenkamp (USA) being the fastest qualifier with 13:37.36. Only one major name – Craig Mottram (AUS) – was eliminated. The pace in the final was slow to start with 68.0 for the first lap. This appeared to play into the hands of reigning World Champion Bernard Lagat, but he ended up ninth. The three Ethiopians gradually wound up the pace, passing 3000m in 8:00.85, before m winner Kenenisa Bekele stamped his authority with a 59.96 lap. In the 30°C heat, only Kipchoge, Soi and Kipsiro were able to keep up. Further circuits of 61.36, 60.84 and 60.84 meant that only Kipchoge and a struggling Soi were in touch at the bell. Bekele took off on the last lap, covering the last 400m in 53.87 to register the first sub-13 clocking in Olympic history, including a final mile of 3:58.7. This dominant piece of running left observers feeling that they were watching the greatest distance runner of all-time.
Summary by      
Kenenisa Bekele was considered the greatest distance runner in the world and also a worthy successor to the line of Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zátopek, and Lasse Viren as one of the greatest ever. He was a heavy favorite and had already won the 10K six days before the 5,000 final. His main rival was probably Bernard Lagat, a former Kenyan who now ran for the United States, and who had won the 5K at the 2007 World Championships. But Lagat was not at his best in Beijing and would finish only ninth in the final. And even at his best, Bekele was the better runner. He had held the world record since May 2004, and had won 11 International Cross-Country titles since 2003 (short- and long-course). With Lagat in the final, who had good finishing speed, Bekele ran with his brother, Tariku Bekele, and they set a fast early pace. At 3,000 metres, Bekele strung the field out with a 60-second lap. He continued to push the pace for the next few laps. By the final backstretch the race was over, and Bekele closed in 54.0 to win by almost five seconds. He ran his last 1,600 in 3:57.0, and his last five laps in 4:57.0. Behind him the medals went to two Kenyans, Eliud Kipchoge (silver) and Edwin Soi (bronze). Having now won the 10,000 in both 2004 and 2008, and doubling in the 5K/10K at one Olympic Games, Bekele joined Nurmi, Zátopek, and Viren as the only distance runners to have pulled off that double/double.


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:

World record Ethiopia 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

The following new Olympic record was set during this competition:

Date Event Name Nationality Time OR WR
23 August Final Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia 12:57.82 OR  

The Men's 5000 metres at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place on 20 and 23 August at the Beijing National Stadium.

The qualifying standards were 13:21.50 (A standard) and 13:28.00 (B standard)

Men's 5000m - FINAL


Alongside Hannes Kolehmainen, Emil Zatopek, Vladimir Kuts, Lasse Viren and Miruts Yifter we can now add the name Kenenisa Bekele as the only men to win the 5000m and 10,000m double at the Olympic Games.

The Ethiopian maestro produced a masterful tactical performance as he dictated the pace from the front for much of the race before unleashing that killer kick finish to destroy the opposition and set an Olympic record of 12:57:82.

So often in the recent past global 5000m finals have been characterised by turgidly slow races followed by a last lap burn up but Bekele, who was beaten by just 0.20 to the gold medal in Athens four years ago, was never going to allow that to happen a second time.

Supported ably by his Ethiopian lieutenants - including his brother Tariku and Abreham Cherkos - the trio laid the foundations for Bekele's memorable victory. Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, the eternal bridesmaid, went one better than four years ago in Athens to take silver in 13:02.80 with countryman Edwin Soi (13:06.22) taking the bronze.

Surprisingly for Bekele, who is the World record holder, this was his first global 5000m title and he also matched the feats of his compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba who had completed the 5000m and 10,000m double the previous day.

Eritrea's Kidane Tadesse took the field through the first lap in a modest 68 seconds but Bekele mindful of being outsprinted by Hicham El Guerrouj at the Athens Games, was not prepared to suffer the same fate again. He hit the front and slowly cranked up the pace ahead of Ireland's Alistair Cragg.

Bekele's younger sibling, Tariku, took his turn at the front and he hit the 1km mark in 2:45.49 followed by  Kenenisa with the third Ethiopian, Cherkos, the World Junior champion, controlling affairs at the front.

Just after the 2km point - passed in 5:22.29 - Cherkos took his turn at the front, although the Kenyan trio took closer order behind the Ethiopians.

At 3km Bekele, that's Kenenisa and not Tariku, led them through in 8:00.85 but five laps out he decided to make what would prove the decisive move of the race putting in a 60-second lap to blow the field wide open.

Four laps out only five athletes remained in touch with the leader - Kipchoge, Soi, World champion Bernard Lagat, Moses Kipsiro of Uganda and Qatar's James Kwalia of Qatar. Kwalia was the next to crack followed quickly by Lagat, who could not gain 5000m redemption after bombing out of the semi-finals of the 1500m.

Bekele now consistently running 60-61 seconds was hurting the opposition and on the penultimate lap Kipsiro, the World bronze medallist was the next to drop off the relentless pace at the front.

At the bell Bekele was followed by Kipchoge and Soi but any hope of a Kenyan champion in this event since John Ngugi in Seoul 20 years ago had evaporated 150m into the final lap. Bekele shifted into fifth gear and like a top grade sports car just left the Kenyans for dead.

Soi quickly dropped out of the picture and Bekele had opened up a winning lead on Kipchoge halfway down the back straight.

The rest of the lap was primarily a case of whether Bekele would dip below Said Aouita's 24-year-old Olympic record of 13:05.59. We should never have worried. Bekele produced a 53.8 final lap to stop the clock in 12:57.82.

Kipchoge and Soi took the two minor medals to ensure Kenyan picked up five medals inside the Bird's Nest Stadium tonight - the final day of the track and field programme.

Kipsiro placed fourth in 13:10.56 with Cherkos fifth (13:16.46). Tariku Bekele settled for sixth in 13:19.06 but Lagat's miserable Games was complete as he wound up ninth in 13:26.89.

Steve Landells for the IAAF

5000 m Men     Final 23 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 12.57.82     Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia ETH 13 Jun 82  
2 13.02.80     Eliud Kipchoge Kenya KEN 5 Nov 84  
3 13.06.22     Edwin Soi Kenya KEN 3 Mar 86  
4 13.10.56     Moses Kipsiro Uganda UGA 2 Sep 86  
5 13.16.46     Abreham Cherkos Ethiopia ETH 23 Sep 89  
6 13.19.06     Tariku Bekele Ethiopia ETH 21 Jan 87  
7 13.19.79     Juan Luis Barrios Mexico MEX 24 Jun 83  
8 13.23.48     James Kwalia Qatar QAT 12 Jun 84  
9 13.26.89     Bernard Lagat United States USA 12 Dec 74  
10 13.28.40     Kidane Tadese Eritrea ERI 31 Aug 87  
11 13.30.48     Alemayehu Bezabeh Spain ESP 22 Sep 86  
12 13.31.34     Thomas Longosiwa Kenya KEN 14 Jan 82  
13 13.33.13     Matt Tegenkamp United States USA 19 Jan 82  
14 13.55.94     Jesús España Spain ESP 21 Aug 78  
  DNF     Alistair Cragg Ireland IRL 13 Jun 80  


Intermediate Athlete Country Mark
1000m Tariku Bekele  Ethiopia 2:45.49
2000m Tariku Bekele  Ethiopia 5:22.29
3000m Kenenisa Bekele  Ethiopia 8:00.85
4000m Kenenisa Bekele  Ethiopia 10:32.52

Men's 5000m - Round 1

Twotime World Cup 3000m champion Craig Mottram of Australia was the major casualty of the heats, although Kenenisa Bekele remains on track to land the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m double and World champion Bernard Lagat began the first stage of his redemption after being surprisingly dumped out of the semi-finals of the 1500m.

As fate would have it, the trio all clashed in the third and final of the three heats which was inexplicably run at a slow pace - even knowing what they needed to do to secure the three next fastest times.

Still, no matter. The race burst into life with 600m remaining when James Kwalia of Qatar sprinted to the front to begin his qualification bid in earnest.

By the bell Kwalia had stolen a significant march on the field and led by 15m from a chasing group of four which included - Mottram, Lagat, Bekele and Kenya's Thomas Longosiwa.

By the beginning of the back straight, however, the Australian had lost contact with the group and dropped out of contention for a place in the final.

A fading Kwalia was caught in the home straight by a fresh looking Lagat, who will be delighted with the manner in which he responded after his 1500m disappointment. Lagat took the heat win in 13:39.70 - 0.26 ahead of Kwalia. Bekele, looking cool as a cucumber, qualified easily in third (13:40.13) with Longosiwa fourth in 13:41.30.

Mottram missed out on one of the fastest loser spots, a bitterly disappointed fifth in 13.44.39.

Seven men qualified from Heat One, including former World champion Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia's World Indoor 3000m champion Tariku Bekele, younger brother of Kenenisa.

However, it was heat winner Matt Tegenkamp who was the most impressive qualifier.

Ireland's Alistair Cragg, Kipchoge and Aadam Khamis of Bahrain all took turns at the front to ensure a healthy pace, although seven athletes were still in contention at the bell.

The familiar last lap burn up saw Kipchoge and Bekele enter the home straight in control. However, Tegenkamp, the US trials runner-up, burst through the middle of the African duo to take the win in 13:37.36.

Kipchoge crossed the line second in 13:37.50 with Bekele 0.13 back in third. Kidane Tadesse of Eritrea edged fourth by 0.13 in 13:37.72. Spain's Aelemayehu Bezabeh (13:37.88), Cragg (13:38.57) and Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico (13:42.39) in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, all advanced to Saturday's final as the three fastest losers.

The chief protagonists also progressed from Heat Two as Kenya's Edwin Soi took victory in 13:46.41.

Uganda's Moses Kipsiso, the 2007 World bronze medallist, and Great Britain's Mo Farah shared the lead for much of the race, although at the bell World Junior champion Abreham Cherkos led a group of seven in the fight for the top four places.

Cherkos, Soi, Kipsiro and Jesus Espana, the European champion from Spain, quickly moved into the four automatic positions and Ali Abdalla of Eritrea and Farah dropped off the back.

Coming down the home straight it was Soi who showed the most impressive pace to win 0.17 ahead of Kipsiro.

Cherkos finished third in 13:47.60 with Espana fourth in 13:48.88. There was disappointment, however, for Abdulla in fifth (13:49.68) and Farah (13:50.95) sixth, who exited the competition.

Steve Landells for the IAAF

5000 m Men     Heat 1 20 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.37.36   Q Matt Tegenkamp United States USA 19 Jan 82  
2 13.37.50   Q Eliud Kipchoge Kenya KEN 5 Nov 84  
3 13.37.63   Q Tariku Bekele Ethiopia ETH 21 Jan 87  
4 13.37.72   Q Kidane Tadese Eritrea ERI 31 Aug 87  
5 13.37.88   Q Alemayehu Bezabeh Spain ESP 22 Sep 86  
6 13.38.57   Q Alistair Cragg Ireland IRL 13 Jun 80  
7 13.42.39   Q Juan Luis Barrios Mexico MEX 24 Jun 83  
8 13.43.70     Anas Selmouni Morocco MAR 15 Mar 79  
9 13.44.76     Adam Ismail Khamis Bahrain BRN 12 Feb 89  
10 13.44.90     Collis Birmingham Australia AUS 27 Dec 84  
11 13.50.50     Geoffrey Kusuro Uganda UGA 12 Feb 89  
12 13.53.38     Sultan Khamis Zaman Qatar QAT 23 Jul 85  
13 14.20.24     Takayuki Matsumiya Japan JPN 21 Feb 80  
14 15.50.56     Min Thu Soe Myanmar MYA 25 Sep 88  
5000 m Men     Heat 2 20 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.46.41   Q Edwin Soi Kenya KEN 3 Mar 86  
2 13.46.58   Q Moses Kipsiro Uganda UGA 2 Sep 86  
3 13.47.60   Q Abreham Cherkos Ethiopia ETH 23 Sep 89  
4 13.48.88   Q Jesús España Spain ESP 21 Aug 78  
5 13.49.68     Ali Abdalla Afringi Eritrea ERI 2 Nov 82  
6 13.50.95     Mohamed Farah Great Britain GBR 23 Mar 83  
7 13.55.27     Adrian Blincoe New Zealand NZL 4 Nov 79  
8 14.00.76     Mourad Marofit Morocco MAR 26 Jan 82  
9 14.05.47     Ian Dobson United States USA 6 Feb 82  
10 14.06.96     Tonny Wamulwa Zambia ZAM 6 Aug 89  
11 14.09.16     Kevin Sullivan Canada CAN 20 Mar 74  
12 14.15.00     Ali Saïdi-Sief Algeria ALG 15 Mar 78  
13 14.41.10     Nader Al-Massri Palestine PLE 26 Jan 80  
5000 m Men     Heat 3 20 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.39.70   Q Bernard Lagat United States USA 12 Dec 74  
2 13.39.96   Q James Kwalia Qatar QAT 12 Jun 84  
3 13.40.13   Q Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia ETH 13 Jun 82  
4 13.41.30   Q Thomas Longosiwa Kenya KEN 14 Jan 82  
5 13.44.39     Craig Mottram Australia AUS 18 Jun 80  
6 13.47.00     Moukhled Al-Outaibi Saudi Arabia KSA 20 Jun 76  
7 13.49.42     Kensuke Takezawa Japan JPN 11 Oct 86  
8 13.54.41     Monder Rizki Belgium BEL 16 Aug 79  
9 13.58.20     Alberto García Spain ESP 22 Feb 71  
10 13.59.68     Philipp Bandi Switzerland SUI 28 Sep 77  
11 14.05.30     Aziz Naji El Idrissi Morocco MAR 8 Dec 86  
12 14.21.58     Abdinasir Said Ibrahim Somalia SOM 1 Jul 89  




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