Ethiopian runner Almaz Ayana delivered a stunning start to track and field at the Olympics with a world record in the 10,000m today, wiping away the competition just after the halfway point and striding to victory with effortless grace.
After crossing the finish line, she raised her hands in triumph and came to a stop, fully realizing what she had done; her time of 29 minutes, 17.45, had shaved 14.33 seconds off the 1993 mark of China’s Wang Junxia.
At age 24, she beat the best from a previous generation. Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot, 32, a four-time long distance world champion came in second, a massive 15.18 seconds behind. Ayana’s 31-year-old team-mate Tirunesh Dibaba took bronze.
It was a bittersweet moment for Dibaba, who had been trying to become the first woman to win three individual Olympic track titles in a row. She never stood a chance for victory but fought to get another medal for Ethiopia. Dibaba and Ayana held hands afterward, a symbolic transition to a new era.