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David Rudisha

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Subject: 2010 in athletics (track and field), 2010 IAAF Diamond League, 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics, IAAF Diamond League, 2011 World Championships in Athletics
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David Rudisha

David Rudisha
Rudisha in Beijing in 2015
Personal information
Birth name David Lekuta Rudisha
Nationality Kenyan
Born (1988-12-17) 17 December 1988
Kilgoris, Narok County, Kenya
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[1]
Sport Track and field
Event(s) 800 metres
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 400 m: 45.15 (2013)
800 m: 1:40.91 WR (2012)

David Lekuta Rudisha, MBS (born 17 December 1988) is a Kenyan middle-distance runner. He is the current Olympic champion and world record holder in the 800 metres. Rudisha was the first person to run under 1:41 for the event,[2] and he holds the three fastest, six of the eight fastest, and half of the twenty fastest times ever run in this event.[3] Rudisha has won a record 3 consecutive Track & Field Athlete of the Year awards (tied with Carl Lewis), and also won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award in 2010.

Early life

Born in Kilgoris, Narok County, Rudisha went to Kimuron Secondary School in Iten, Keiyo District, which is known for nurturing several top runners including Wilson Kipketer, the previous 800 m world record holder, who had already held the record for several years before Rudisha joined the school. In April 2005 Japheth Kimutai recommended Rudisha to James Templeton, and Rudisha joined the group of runners managed by Templeton, which has at various time included Kimutai, Bernard Lagat and Augustine Choge.[4] Initially he was a 400 metres runner, but his coach, Irishman Colm O'Connell, prompted him to try 800 m. In 2006 he became the world junior champion over that distance.[5]


Rudisha competed at the 2009 World Athletics Championships, reaching the 800 metres semifinals. In September 2009, Rudisha won the IAAF Grand Prix meeting in Rieti, Italy, posting a new African record of 1:42.01, beating the 25-year-old record of 1:42.28 set by compatriot Sammy Koskei. That effort put him in fourth place on the all-time list.[6] In the 2010 IAAF Diamond League, he took on Abubaker Kaki at the Bislett Games in June. He defeated Sebastian Coe's 31-year-old meet record with a run of 1:42.04, giving him another place in the top-ten fastest ever 800 m and leaving Kaki the consolation of the fastest ever non-winning time.[7] On 10 July 2010, Rudisha ran the 800 m in 1:41.51 at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium; this new personal record placed him No. 2 all-time in the world for the 800 m.[8]

On 22 August 2010 Rudisha broke Wilson Kipketer's 800 m World Record two days before the anniversary of that record with a time of 1:41.09 while racing in the ISATF meeting in Berlin. Just a week later, he broke the record again at the Rieti Diamond League Meeting, lowering it to 1:41.01

In November 2010, at the age of 21, he became the youngest ever athlete to win the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award. He also won the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year award.[9]

With a time of 1:41.74, Rudisha set the United States all comers 800 m record at the 2012 adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium in New York City.[10] He guaranteed his selection for the Kenyan Olympic team for the first time with a win at the Kenyan trials, running a time of 1:42.12 minutes—the fastest ever recorded at altitude.[11]

Rudisha currently holds the world record for the 800 m. He broke the record at the London 2012 Olympics on 9 August 2012, with a time of 1:40.91.[12]

2012 Summer Olympics

On 9 August 2012 at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Rudisha led from start to finish to win gold in what was acclaimed "The Greatest 800 Metre Race Ever".[13] In so doing, he became the first and, so far, only runner to break the 1:41 barrier for 800 m.[14] From the start of the race, Rudisha led and pulled away from the rest of the field after 200 metres, completing the first lap in 49.28 seconds. By 600 metres his lead had grown to several metres. He continued to pull away until the final straight, where second place Nigel Amos was able to slightly gain some ground as Rudisha strained. But the gap was much too great to close, and Rudisha crossed the line in a world-record time of 1:40.91.

Rudisha dragged the rest of the field with him to create a historic race whose story, wrote Sports Illustrated's David Epstein, "is best told, perhaps, in 16 letters: WR, NR, PB, PB, PB, NR, SB, PB."[15] The pace was so punishing that the silver medallist, Amos, had to be carried from the track on a stretcher, though his exertion did earn him the world junior record and make him only the fifth man in history to run under 1:42,[16] something Rudisha has now done seven times.[3] "With Rudisha breaking 1:41, two men under 1:42, five under 1:43 and all eight under 1:44," noted the IAAF, "it was the greatest depth 800m race in history."[17] Every single man ran the fastest time in history for their placing.[14] All eight runners set season's bests; seven set personal bests; and three set national records, of which one was also the world junior record while another was the Olympic and world record.[16][18] It was the first time in international 800m history where every competitor ran either a personal or season's best.[19] The time set by the eighth-placed Andrew Osagie, a personal best of 1:43.77, would have won gold at the three preceding Olympic games in Beijing, Athens and Sydney.[20]

As well as being the first man to go below 1:41, he broke his own world record that was set in 2010. "The splits triggered amazement: 23.4 secs for the first 200 m, 25.88 secs for the second, a critical 25.02 for the third and 26.61 to bring it all home."[21] Rudisha's world record was the more notable for the absence of pacemakers to assist him,[15] the latter not being permitted at the Olympics and other major championships. Its difficulty is underlined by the previous person to win an Olympic 800 m final with a world record was [22] He added: "Bolt was good, Rudisha was magnificent. That is quite a big call but it was the most extraordinary piece of running I have probably ever seen."[23] Rudisha had been in good shape coming into the race, having "clocked a staggering 1:42.12 minutes at high altitude in Nairobi during the Kenyan [Olympic] trials. After that he had said 'the race was nice and easy'."[17]

Before the race, Rudisha had joked about his father's 1968 400 m relay silver medal: "It would be good for me to win gold, so we can have gold and silver in our family . . . so I can tell him, 'I am better than you.'"[16] Afterwards, he admitted that it would go down as the greatest 800 race personally for him as well because he won it in front of Sebastian Coe who held the world record in 800 m for more than 16 years. This race was also touted as a run for his community and tribe.[24] Rudisha was later given the Association of National Olympic Committees Award for Best Male Athlete of London 2012,[25] as well as receiving the honour of Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) from the government of Kenya.[26]


He could not compete at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics because of an injury.[27]


At the New York IAAF Diamond League meeting in June of 2015, Rudisha won the 800m with a time of 1:43.58.[28]

Rudisha won his second world 800m title at the World Championships in Beijing. In a relatively tactical race, after a first lap of only 54.17 he won in a time of 1:45.84 [29]

Personal life

Rudisha is a member of the Maasai ethnic group in Kenya.[5] His father, Daniel Rudisha, is a former runner who won the silver medal at the 1968 Olympics as part of the Kenyan 4 × 400 m relay team, while his mother Naomi is a former 400 m hurdler.[30] He is married to Lizzy Naanyu with two daughters (as of 2015).[30]

He is a supporter of the football club Arsenal F.C.[31]


Rudisha at the 2010 Memorial van Damme.
Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Kenya
2006 World Junior Championships Beijing, China 1st 800m 1:47.40
4th 4×400m relay 3:05.54
2007 African Junior Championships Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 1st 800 m 1:46.41[32]
2008 African Championships Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1st 800 m 1:44.20
2009 World Athletics Final Thessaloniki, Greece 1st 800 m 1:44.85
2010 African Championships Nairobi, Kenya 1st 800 m 1:42.84
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 1st 800 m 1:43.91
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 1st 800 m 1:40.91
2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, Scotland 2nd 800 m 1:45.48
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 1st 800 m 1:45.84

Personal bests

Event Time Date Location
400 m 45.15 3 May 2013 Nairobi
600 m 73.71 24 August 2014 Birmingham
800 m 1:40.91 WR 9 August 2012 London


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  9. ^ The Standard, 11 December 2010: Rudisha and Lagat crowned Soya best athletes
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  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^ a b c
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  28. ^ Rowbottom, Mike. "Bolt says New York IAAF Diamond League meeting win is "one of the worst races I’ve run", "Inside the Games", 13 June 2015. Retrieved on 3 July 2015.
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ a b China Daily, 8 September 2010: Feature: Kenya's Rudisha receives heroic welcome
  31. ^ The Telegraph, 10 August 2012: London 2012 Olympics: David Rudisha, the athletics star eclipsed by Usain Bolt
  32. ^

External links

  • David Rudisha profile
  • David Rudisha profile at IAAF
Preceded by
Wilson Kipketer
Men's 800 metres world record holder
29 August 2010 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Usain Bolt
IAAF World Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Usain Bolt
Preceded by
Usain Bolt
Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Bohdan Bondarenko
Preceded by
Collins Injera
Patrick Makau Musyoki
Kenyan Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Patrick Makau Musyoki
Ezekiel Kemboi
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Abubaker Kaki
Men's 800 metres best year performance
Succeeded by
Mohammed Aman
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