LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the Women's Marathon at The Mall on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Ethiopia earned its first gold of the Olympics thanks to a strong finish by Tiki Gelana.
Tiki Gelana won the most tightly-contested marathon in Olympics history, beating Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo by only five seconds in an Olympic-record time of 2:23.07.
It's not surprising that Ethiopia won the women's marathon, but some of the numbers behind the victory are impressive. Gelana, who won the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon, ran the fastest marathon in Olympic history on Sunday. She won her race with a smaller margin of victory than any race in Olympic history and absolutely jetted to the finish. Gelana's split from the 35 to 40 kilometer marks was 16:41 -- that's a 5:22/mile pace -- and then she pushed her pace even faster, running the race's final 2.2 kilometers in 6:57. Gelana didn't lead the whole way -- she was in second as late as the 35-minute mark -- but her late speed earned her the gold.
The gold is Ethiopia's second in the games, also having won the women's 10,000m event.
America had a pair of decent finishers, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher, who finished tenth and 11th respectively.
Here's who won medals in the marathon and their times:
Gold: Tiki Gelana, Ethiopia, 2:23:07
Silver: Priscah Jeptoo, Kenya, 2:23:12
Bronze: Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova, Russia, 2:23:29.
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