100 Olympic Tidbits: Kenya's Running Tradition

Talk about dominating a particular Olympic discipline, and one can’t help but mention Kenya’s success in middle- and long-distance running events.

Since joining its first Games in 1956, the African nation has won 23 gold, 28 silver, and 25 bronze medals, of which 22-27-19 came from athletics. To be more specific, they came in track events no shorter than 400m. Kenya’s medal rush started out as a trickle, a solitary bronze in the 1964 Tokyo Games courtesy of Wilson Kiprugut in the men’s 800m.

The Kenyans began stamping their class in Mexico four years later when they hauled in a 3-4-1 medal count in athletics, winning golds in the men’s 10,000m, men’s 1500m and men’s 3,000m steeplechase,  silvers in men’s 4x400m relay, men’s 5,000m and men’s 3000m steeplechase, and a bronze in men’s 5,000m. The count dipped to 2-2-2 in Munich in 1972, before the country boycotted the next two Olympiads in Montreal and Moscow.

Upon their return in 1984 in Los Angeles, the Kenyans could only manage a gold in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase and a bronze in the men’s 10,000m. They produced a better output in Seoul, winning golds in the men’s 800m, men’s 1,500m, men’s 5,000m and men’s 3,000m steeplechase, but dipped in the next four Olympiads, managing only a total of six golds.

In Beijing, they matched their gold medal output in the previous four Games with their biggest single-Games haul ever, winning golds in the men’s 800m, men’s 1,500m, men’s 3,000m steeplechase, men’s marathon, women’s 800m, and women’s 1,500m.

Editor's Note: To celebrate the 100-day countdown to the London Games, we will be publishing 100 tidbits about the Olympics. Come back to Yahoo! PH Sports, as we publish a new tidbit every day.

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