Four years after claiming gold in the 800 in world-record time, Kenyan David Rudisha pulled away from the crowd halfway through the second lap to win his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the event.
“King David” won in a time of 1:42.15, the fastest time in the world since he broke the world record in London. Taking silver was Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi, who finished the race in 1:42.61, with American Clayton Murphy taking bronze with a time of 1:42.93. The 21-year old Murphy is the first American to medal in the men’s 800 since 1992, when Johnny Gray took bronze.
“I dreamed about a medal all night,” Murphy said according to the Olympic News Service. “Now it’s happened, I’m wondering if I’m still asleep.”
A Kenyan has won gold in the 800 in three straight Olympics, and Rudisha’s win is the fifth for Kenya in this event since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Rudisha is also the first to repeat as Olympic champion in the 800 since Peter Snell of New Zealand did so in 1960 and 1964.
Five of the top six finishers posted personal best times, with Murphy’s time also representing a career best for him. The fourth and fifth-place finishers were France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse and Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich, who finished fifth and fourth respectively at last year’s World Championships in Beijing.