BIO

David Lekuta Rudisha (born 17 December 1988) is a Kenyan middle distance runner. He is the current Olympic and world record holder in the 800 metres, as well as the current World and Olympic Champion at the distance. Rudisha holds the three fastest, six of the eight fastest, and half the twenty fastest times ever for this event.

 

EARLY LIFE

Born in Kilgoris, Trans Mara District, Rudisha went to St. Patrick's, Kimuron Secondary School in Iten, Keiyo District, which is known for nurturing several top runners including Wilson Kipketer, the previous 800 m world record holder, who had already held the record for several years before Rudisha joined the school. In April 2005 Japheth Kimutai recommended Rudisha to James Templeton, and Rudisha joined the group of runners managed by Templeton, which has at various time included Kimutai, Bernard Lagat and Augustine Choge. Initially he was a 400 metres runner, but his coach, Irishman Colm O'Connell, prompted him to try 800 metres. In 2006 he became the world junior champion over that distance.

 

CAREER

Rudisha competed at the 2009 World Athletics Championships, reaching the 800 metres semifinals. In September 2009, Rudisha won the IAAF Grand Prix meeting in Rieti, Italy, posting a new African record of 1:42.01, beating the 25-year old record of 1:42.28 set by compatriot Sammy Koskei. That effort put him in fourth place on the all-time list. In the 2010 IAAF Diamond League, he took on Abubaker Kaki at the Bislett Games in June. He defeated Sebastian Coe's 31-year-old meet record with a run of 1:42.04, giving him another place in the top-ten fastest ever 800 m and leaving Kaki the consolation of the fastest ever non-winning time. On 10 July 2010, Rudisha ran the 800 m in 1:41.51 at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium; this new personal record placed him No. 2 all-time in the world for the 800 m.

In November 2010, at the age of 21, he became the youngest ever athlete to win the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award. He also won the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year award.

 

With a time of 1:41.74, Rudisha set the United States all comers 800 m record at the 2012 adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium in New York City. He guaranteed his selection for the Kenyan Olympic team for the first time with a win at the Kenyan trials, running a time of 1:42.12 minutes – the fastest ever recorded at altitude.

 

Rudisha currently holds the world record for the 800 m. He broke the record at the London 2012 Olympics on 9 August 2012, with a time of 1:40.91.

 

EARLY LIFE 2012 SUMMER OLYMPICS

On 9 August 2012 at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Rudisha won gold in what was acclaimed "The Greatest 800 Meter Race Ever". In so doing, Rudisha became the first and, so far, only runner to have broken the 1:41 barrier for 800m. From the start of the race, Rudisha led and pulled away from the rest of the field after 200 meters, completing the first lap in 49.28 seconds. By the 600 meter mark his lead had grown to several metres. He continued to pull away until the final straight, where second place Nigel Amos was able to slightly gain some ground as Rudisha strained. But the gap was much too great to close, and Rudisha crossed the line in a world-record time of 1:40.91.

 

As well as being the first man to go below 1:41, he broke his own world record which he set back in 2010. "The splits triggered amazement: 23.4 secs for the first 200m, 25.88 secs for the second, a critical 25.02 for the third and 26.61 to bring it all home." The pace was so punishing that the silver medallist, Amos, had to be carried from the track on a stretcher, though his exertion did earn him the world junior record and make him only the fifth man in history to run under 1:42 (Rudisha has now done that seven times). Rudisha had been in good shape coming into the race, having "clocked a staggering 1:42.12 minutes at high altitude in Nairobi during the Kenyan [Olympic] trials. After that he had said 'the race was nice and easy'."

 

According to the IAAF: "With Rudisha breaking 1:41, two men under 1:42, five under 1:43 and all eight under 1:44, it was the greatest depth 800m race in history." Every single man ran the fastest ever time for their placing in history. There were eight season's bests set in the race, as well as seven personal bests, one national junior record, three national records, the world junior record, the Olympic record, and the world record. It was the first time in 800m history where every competitor ran either a personal or season's best. Rudisha's world record is the more notable for the absence of pacemakers to assist him, the latter not being permitted at the Olympics and other major championships. Its difficulty is underlined by the fact that the last person to win a championship 800m final with a world record was Alberto Juantorena, back in the 1976 Olympics.

 

Sebastian Coe, organiser of the London Olympics, said: "It was the performance of the Games, not just of track and field but of the Games". He added: "Bolt was good, Rudisha was magnificent. That is quite a big call but it was the most extraordinary piece of running I have probably ever seen."

 

Before the race, Rudisha had joked about his father's 1968 400m-relay silver medal: "It would be good for me to win gold, so we can have gold and silver in our family . . . so I can tell him, 'I am better than you.'" Afterwards, he admitted that it would go down as the greatest 800 race personally for him as well because he won it in front of Sebastian Coe who held the world record in 800 m for more than 16 years. This race was also touted a run for his community and tribe.

 

PERSONAL LIFE

Rudisha is a member of the Maasai ethnic group in Kenya. His father, Daniel Rudisha, is a former runner who won silver at the 1968 Olympics as part of the Kenyan 4 × 400 m relay team, while his mother Naomi is a former 400 m hurdler. He is married to Lizzy Naanyu with a daughter (as of 2010).

 

He is a supporter of the football club Arsenal F.C.