A new Olympic star has emerged in Ethiopia and it is none other than the amazing Almaz Ayana. The 25-year-old athlete smashed both the World and Olympic records in a spectacular manner to win the 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, clocking 29:17.45 to win the first athletics gold medal of the Games.
The race was fast from the outset with Kenya’s Alice Aprot Nawowuna setting the early pace, taking the field through 3000m in 8:52 and 5000m in 14:46, indicating a finishing time well inside 30 minutes.
Almaz soon took over the lead and increased the pace, opening up a gap on world champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba. It soon became clear that she was operating at world record pace, while her pursuers were also on course for huge lifetime bests.
She eventually crossed the finish line in 29:17.45 to take more than 14 seconds off the world record set by Wang Junxia back in 1993.
Cheruiyot finished second in a Kenyan record of 29:32.53 while 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba set a lifetime best of 29:42.46 to take bronze.
"This means everything for me. I never thought that this would happen & I'm so in awe. I'm very happy to get here." Almaz said after the race.
All three women ran inside the old Olympic 10,000m record.
Cheruiyot, Kenya's most decorated female athlete, also fell short in the 2012 London Games where she took bronze.
The 31-year-old Tirunesh, who returned in 2016 from a two-year layoff following the birth of her son, was seeking to become the first woman in Olympic history to win an individual athletics event three times in a row.
Almaz will now turn her attention to her preferred 5,000m distance, in which she is favorite to win and become only the second woman after Tirunesh to claim gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 in the same Games.