This race has all the makings for great duel between two great runners. One can almost be certain that the winner of the gold medal will either be Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba or Kenyan’s Vivian Cheruiyot. Both runners have a long list of accomplishments to their names.
Tirunesh Dibaba is the reigning Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 champion. In the 10,000 meters in Beijing, Dibaba ran a 29:54.66. Even more, she has never lost a 10,000 meter race on the track. Let me repeat that one more time, she has never lost a 10,000 meter race on the track. She is currently on top of the world’s best list with a 30:24.39 which she ran at Prefontaine. That time came in her first race back from injury since July 2010. There is little doubt that she is ready to go for gold again.
While Dibaba was out with injury, Kenyan’s Vivian Cheruiyot was busy winning races. Cheruiyot won the both the 10,000 meters and 5, 000 meters at last year’s world championships. Cheruiyot has won every race she has run this season (everything from the 3,000 meters to the 10,000 meters). She leads the world in the 5000m with 14:35.62 from Rome.
So who will take gold and who will take silver? It is a bit up in the air. Dibaba has never lost on the track to Cheruiyot but Dibaba is coming back from injury. It is almost certain that they will finish 1-2, it is just a matter of what order.
There are few good choices for third. American based Kenyan Sally Kipyego won silver at last year’s world championships. Kipyego’s career best is 30:38.35. Also look for Kenyan’s Joyce Chepkirui who is known for her half marathon time of 1:07:03. Unless there is an awe-aspiring performance, the Americans will be lucky to be in the top five. Look for Amy Hastings to be bold. In a recent Flotrack interview, she said “Fourth place is the same as last place so you might as well go for it.” Lisa Uhl has stated that she is hoping for a top ten performance. Janet Cherobon-Bawcom is a little of mystery just like at the marathon trials but based on recent times she will not be a medal contender.
The 10,000 meter final will be live today on NBC at 4:25 EST.