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Emma Coburn first U.S. woman to win Olympic steeplechase medal

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Gold: Ruth Jebet (Bahrain)
Silver: Hyvin Jepkemoi (Kenya)
Bronze: Emma Coburn (United States)

Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet dominated the women’s 3000m steeplechase from the start, winning the gold medal Monday morning in 8 minutes, 59.75 seconds. It was the second-fastest time ever, less than one second behind the world record. 

Kenya’s Hyvin Jepkemoi finished more than seven seconds later.

Emma Coburn clocked 9:07.63 to break her own American record. She became the first U.S. woman to stand on an Olympic 3000m steeplechase podium since the event debuted on the women's Olympic program in 2008.

"I’m a little bummed I didn’t have a little more in the last lap to get second, but third in the world is really incredible," Coburn said to NBC's Lewis Johnson. "I’m really happy."

Colleen Quigley finished eighth and fellow American Courtney Frerichs was 11th. 

The race began with a false start, which is rare for a non-sprinting event.

Coburn, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Colorado, posed for ESPN the Magazine’s annual Body Issue in July. She used to work at a pizzeria, and gave her former coworkers a shout-out in her post-race TV interview with NBC. 

The men’s 3000m steeplechase final will be held Wednesday at 10:50 a.m. ET, and will feature two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya. Americans Hillary Bor and Evan Jager both won first round heats to advance to the final, along with Donn Cabral. 

Coburn was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her University of Colorado teammate Jenny Simpson. Simpson will race in the women’s 1500m final Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET. 


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