On the opening day of Athletics, Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba defended her gold medal in the women's 10,000 meters Friday night at the 2012 Summer Olympics, pulling away from her competition late and winning in dominant fashion.
Dibaba, 27, broke away with 500m remaining and furthered her lead, eventually winning in a time of 30:20.75, nearly a full six seconds ahead of the silver medal winner, Kenya's Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego. Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot, also of Kenya, finished in 30:30.44 for the bronze medal.
Americans Amy Hastings (31:10), Janet Cherobon-Bawcom and Lisa Uhl finished 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively.
The win marks Dibaba's third overall Olympic gold after winning both the 5,000m and 10,000m in Beijing -- she was first female athlete to accomplish that double. She'll aim to repeat that feat when she runs in the 5,000m in London in one week's time, on Aug. 10.
Track and field is underway today and will be the major focus for the remainder of the Olympics. The competition gets off with medal events in the men’s shot put and women’s 10,000m. The women’s 10,000m takes place at 9:25 p.m. London time, 4:25 p.m. ET and will be aired live on NBC at 4:30 p.m. The men’s shot put takes place at 8:30 p.m. London time, 3:30 p.m. ET, but to watch that on TV you’ll have to wait for NBC’s primetime coverage (begins at 8 p.m. ET). If you are looking for it live you can find it, and other track and field qualification events using NBC’s online stream.
This morning three Americans were among the 12 men to qualify for the medal round in the shot put. Gold medal favorite Reese Hoffa put up the top mark of 21.36 meters; Ryan Whiting threw 20.78m and Christian Cantwell, a silver medalist in 2008, had a mark of 20.41 meters.
The Americans have much less of a shot to medal in the women’s 10,000m, a grueling 25 lap race that is traditionally dominated by the Ethipoian and Kenyan runners, and they will certainly control the pace of this race. The Ethiopians have the three best times this season and Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot is the defending world champion.
Another event that is in full swing today is the women’s heptathlon. Two events have been completed, the 100m hurdles and high jump, with the shot put (2:00 p.m. ET) and 200m (3:35 p.m. ET) still coming later today. At the moment American Hyleas Fountain, a silver medalist in Beijing sits in second with 2,224 points, 25 behind British leader and gold medal favorite Jessica Ennis.