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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rio Olympics: Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto wins steeplechase; Evan Jager of the U.S. wins silver

Evan Jager (Yoan Valat / European Pressphoto Agency)
The U.S. apparently has become a steeplechase power in Olympic competition.
Evan Jager of Algonquin, Ill., won a silver medal in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase Wednesday, finishing behind the Olympic-record time of 8:03.29 run by Conseslus Kiproto of Kenya. Jager’s time of 8:04.28 was a season-best. Earlier this week, Emma Coburn won a bronze medal in the women’s steeplechase, a first for American women.
Ezekiel Kemboi, the 2004 and 2012 Olympic champion, was third in 8:08.
47. That extended the Kenyan men's gold-medal streak in this event to nine in a row, starting in 1984.
“Beating the Kenyans in championship steeplechases, it’s a very hard achievement and a very hard task,” Jager said. “Since I started steeplechasing, it’s been one of the goals of mine just to be in the mix with the Kenyans and beat some of them on the day at championship races. Beating Kemboi, who has been so dominant over his entire career and I believe is the greatest steeplechaser of all time, it’s a huge accomplishment for me and it makes me very proud.”
He also said the parallel success of compatriot Coburn in the women’s steeplechase is “very cool.” He added, “I feel like our careers have kind of gone hand in hand. We both continue to get better each year. It’s cool that we’ve been able to share the same career at the same time.”
Jager's medal was the first by an American man since Brian Diemer won bronze in 1984, and it also was faster than the previous Olympic record of 8:05.51 set at the 1988 Seoul Games by Julius Kariuki of Kenya.

Los Angeles Times