The first medal event on Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic track went off in historic fashion, headlined by Ethiopian Almaz Ayana’s world record performance in 29:17.45.
To better understand just how unprecedented the run was, here are six stats from the fastest women’s 10,000-meter race of all time.
- Ayana completed the second half of the race in 14:30.64. This 5,000-meter split is more than 10 seconds faster than the Olympic record for the distance.The current 5,000-meter Olympic record is 14:40.79, set by Romanian Gabriela Szabo in 2000 at the Sydney Olympic Games.
- Before this race, only five women had run under 30:00 in the 10,000. The top four athletes accomplished the mark in Rio:Ayana, Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya in 29:32.53, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia in 29:42.56 (the only athlete in the field to previously run sub-30), and Alice Aprot of Kenya in 29:53.51.
- This was only Ayana’s second race at 10,000 meters. She debuted at the distance on June 29 of this year, running 30:07.00.
- Counting Ayana’s performance, eight women broke their country’s national records in the race, including American Molly Huddle, whose 30:13.17 bettered Shalane Flanagan’s mark by 9 seconds. The countries with records that fell: Ethiopia, Kenya, United States, Sweden, Burundi, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.
- Eighteen women set personal bests, including American Emily Infeld, who took 11th in 31:26.94. That constitutes just under half of the field putting in lifetime performances.
- The difference between Ayana and last-place finisher Marisol Romero of Mexico was more than six minutes, or, at Ayana’s pace, more than five laps of the track.