Gold: Caster Semenya (RSA)
Silver: Francine Niyonsaba (BDI)
Bronze: Margaret Wambui (KEN)
Caster Semenya decimated the field in the 800m final, capturing the gold medal in 1:55.28, a national record for her nation of South Africa.
Coming into the night, it was conceivable that Semenya could break 800m world record set by Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia, but the slow pace of the race early on put the record out of reach in the final lap.
As Kratochvilova’s nationality suggests, her record has stood for quite a while – 33 years to be exact.
Semenya has been the subject of controversy throughout her entire international career, but her margin of victory in this race left nothing up for debate.
Francine Niyonsaba of the small Central African nation of Burundi ran stride-for-stride with Semenya for most of the race, but finished 1.21 seconds behind the South African after a blistering final sprint. Niyonsaba’s silver is the first track and field medal ever won by a woman from Burundi.
Kenya’s Margaret Wambui crossed the line just behind Niyonsaba for bronze.
American Kate Grace, daughter of fitness entrepreneur Kathy Smith, finished at the back of the field.
Semenya joins Kenya’s David Rudisha, who won the gold medal in the men’s 800m five days ago. It was his second straight Olympic victory in the event.