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Jemima Sumgong becomes first Kenyan to win women’s marathon gold medal

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Gold: Jemima Sumgong (Kenya)
Silver: Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain)
Bronze: Mare Dibaba (Ethiopia)

Jemima Sumgong won the women’s marathon Sunday on a sunny day in Rio with temperatures in the mid-70s degrees Fahrenheit. It was Kenya’ first women’s marathon gold medal, after Kenyan athletes claimed silver medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012. 

Sumgong crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 4 seconds. Eunice Kirwa finished nine seconds later. 

"I was never worried that I'd lose this," Sumgong said to the Associated Press. "At 40 kilometers, I knew the gold was mine."

Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion, earned the bronze medal. She is not related to the Dibaba sisters.

All three U.S. women finished in the top 10. Shalane Flanagan, the top U.S. finisher, was sixth and Desi Linden was seventh. Amy Cragg, who won the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February, finished ninth.

The scenic course started and finished at the Sambódromo, home to the Rio Carnival parades. It then featured three 10,000m loops through the streets of Rio. For much of the race, the Christ the Redeemer statue could be seen in the background.

Estonian sisters Leila, Liina and Lily Luik became the first set of triplets to compete at an Olympics. Lily finished 97th, Leila was 114th and Liina did not finish. 

The men’s marathon will be held on August 21. Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp and Jared Ward will race for the United States.

Keflezighi, 41, will become the oldest U.S. Olympic marathoner of all time. 

Rupp raced last night in the men’s 10,000m and finished fifth after claiming the silver medal in London. 

Ward, who is known as the “Running Nerd,” is a statistics professor at BYU.

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