David Rudisha didn’t just win gold in the 800m at the 2012 London Olympics, and he didn’t just set a new world record in that event either – he blew people’s minds.
And the Kenyan didn’t just blow the minds of casual spectators, but the minds of people who know a thing or two about running an immaculate 800. Seb Coe, the iconic British Olympian and former world record holder in the event, called Rudisha’s dominant Olympic performance “the most extraordinary piece of running I have probably ever seen.”
Two years later, Rudisha, now 25, is back in the UK and set to challenge his own world record in Friday night’s Diamond League Glasgow Grand Prix – though the reality is he will probably save his best effort for the Commonwealth Games that begin July 23.
Yet as Rudisha returns to Britain, a lot has changed since his sterling Olympic run. If his gold medal-winning time of 1:40.91 isn’t quite a distant memory, the hope of reaching it again is diminished by two years of battling knee and calf injuries. Observers say he is running at about 90 percent right now, but 90 percent doesn’t break world records and it doesn’t bode well for his Commonwealth Games.
Rudisha doesn’t sound worried about his long-term health, and told The Telegraph that he thinks he can challenge his own record.
“At the Olympics I did it by myself, without a pacemaker,” Rudisha said. “Maybe, if we can get the right pacing and the right competition, and if I am in good shape, we might be able to do something better than that.”
Eventually, he thinks he can do even better. While 1:41 used to be a mythical barrier, Rudisha told the Telegraph he thinks breaking 1:40 could be happen down the road, even if it doesn’t happen this year.
“It might be possible in the future,” he said.
Rudisha is the biggest name to watch at this event. Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who took silver in the 100 and 200 at the 2012 Olympics will be competing but is injured and has already withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games. Great Britain’s Mo Farah, who won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 in 2012, withdrew earlier this week after battling a recent stomach illness.