Source Article: Kenya Targets 12 Golds in London
In 2008, amidst the smog riddled cityscape of Beijing, China, Kenya took away 14 medals from the Olympic Games, all of them earned on the track. Making up those 14 were six gold, four silver, and four bronze; a fine showing. This year, however, Kenyan coach Julius Kirwa boasts that the east African country is shooting for 12 gold medals, and 36 medals overall.
"We are ready for this Olympics and we are going for a record medal haul. I have the best team ever in Kenya's Olympics history," Kirwa told Reuters.
A bold, bold claim. So why not break this down.
Between the Kenyan men and women, the country is entered in 16 running events and one field event. To hit they’re goal, the team will have to win 75% of the races it’s entered. My mental math is stellar, I know.
Sounds like a pretty lofty goal, but looking at the list of Kenyan athletes, the 12 golds may not be too far out of the question.
Let’s start with the likely gold medals: David Rudisha and Pamela Jelimo. This pair of 800m runners, Rudisha in particular, are more than likely going to show the world a clean pair of heels as they cross the finish line uncontested.
Next on the list is the 1500m. The way defending Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop has been running this year, it’s likely you’ll see him knick knacking his body, comprised entirely of knees and elbows, across the line in first. If by some divine act he doesn’t win, the guy next on the list is fellow countryman—and 3:29 guy-- Silas Kiplagat. Win, win.
The men’s steeplechase is basically a lock. Since 2007, of the possible 12 medals Kenya could have won at either World Championship meets or the Olympics, they’ve won nine of them. Is a sweep likely? Maybe. Either way, it’s probable you can notch another gold for Kenya in this event.
For both men and women, the 5000m is the one that will be the most difficult. On the men’s side, Ethiopia is coming in with a deluge of men that have run under 12:50. Kenya isn’t without its own powerhouse runners, but when the Ethiopians ran the world leading times in Paris, they trounced Kenya.
The 10,000m is also a tough one to call, as whoever wins will have to take down Kenenisa Bekele to do it.
The Marathon is a no brainer. The Kenyan team is holding on to the second fastest man in history, Wilson Kiprotich; the 2011 World Champion, Abel Kirui; and the 6th fastest man of all time, 2:04:40 man, Emmanuel Mutai.
On the women’s side, the marathon will be a battle between the east African strong holds of Ethiopia and Kenya, but for the sake of this article, let’s just say that Kenya’s Mary Keitany will win it.
By my calculations and half drawn conclusions, it looks like Kenya may have a year worth it’s weight in gold. Though twelve gold medals is a stretch, if the stars align, Kenya could yet again solidify themselves as the best distance running country in the world.
Updated on May 15, 2013, 2:20pm