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2004 Olympic Games Athens - Women's 800 m

 

 

Host City: Athina, Greece Format: Top two in each heat and next two fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 20, 2004 Format: Top three in each heat and next six fastest advanced to the semi-finals.
Date Finished: August 23, 2004  
(Competitors: 43; Countries: 36; Finalists: 8)  
    Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Maroussi
Overview by IAAF   2004-athens-stadium.jpg 
Mutola – winner of all five global titles available from 2000 to 2003 was favourite – but was short of training due to minor injuries a few weeks before Athens. Nevertheless, she won her semi-final in 1:59.30 comfortably enough, after Holmes (1:57.98) and Benhassi (1:58.59) had won the other heats. In the final 37 year-old Miles Clark “wanted to go out with a bang”, and she made sure the race was quick, passing 200 in 27.5 and leading at the bell in 56.37. The field was spread out over 10m, with Benhassi at the back, just behind Holmes. Miles Clark still led at 600m, but now there was five metres covering the field. The American finally yielded with 90m to go as Mutola and Holmes stormed past. The two fought evenly down the straight with Benhassi and then Čeplak closing on the pair, until 10m from the finish when Mutola wavered and Holmes was clear momentarily. Then Benhassi and Čeplak swooped, passing the Briton just after the finish line. The top four had run the last 100m in 14.9 (Holmes), 14.5 (Benhassi), 14.3 (Čeplak) and 15.1 (Mutola).
       
Summary by Sports-reference.com      
The defending champion, Maria Mutola, was the favorite, having won the 2001 and 2003 World Championships. The final pace was led by American Jearl Miles-Clark who led thru 600 metres. At the start of the homestretch Mutola and Britain's Kelly Holmes passed into the lead. It was expected to be a great battle but Mutola faded, and Holmes ran away from her. But the finish was very close as Morocco's Hasna Benhassi and Slovenia's Jolanda Čeplak closed quickly. Holmes held on to win, with almost nothing to choose between Benhassi and Ceplak, both clocked in 1:56.43, Benhassi getting the silver. Mutola dropped back to fourth, and Miles-Clark trailed in sixth place.
 

Records

Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH) 1:53.28 Munich, West Germany 26 July 1983
Olympic record  Nadezhda Olizarenko (URS) 1:53.43 Moscow, Soviet Union 27 July 1980

No new records were set during the competition.

Qualification

The qualification period for athletics was 1 January 2003 to 9 August 2004. For the women's 800 metres, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 2:00.00 or faster during the qualification period. If an NOC had no athletes that qualified under that standard, one athlete that had run the race in 2:01.30 or faster could be entered.
 
        Results        

The women's 800 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of the athletics program were held at the Athens Olympic Stadium from August 20 to 23.

The first round had split a full roster of runners into six heats with the first three gaining a direct qualification and then the next six fastest across all heats advancing to the semifinals. The top two runners in each of the three semifinal heats moved on directly to the final, and they were immediately joined by the next two fastest from any of the semifinals.

The final started with a fast first 200 metres, but Kelly Holmes and Maria de Lurdes Mutola were last at this stage. As the pace slowed, Mutola and Holmes moved forward through the field. The time at 400 metres was 56.37 seconds, with American Jearl Miles Clark leading. They entered the finishing straight with Mutola taking the lead, before Holmes took the lead and held off Mutola to take gold. Hasna Benhassi and Jolanda Čeplak finished strongly, both with a time of 1:56.43s, Benhassi winning silver in a photo finish. Mutola was forced into fourth place. Holmes' face lit up as she crossed the line, but then, unsure of the result, she anxiously waited for the times to come up.

Holmes had only decided to enter the 800 metres at the last moment, and went on to also win gold in her preferred event, the 1500 m. This feat made her one of the UK's most successful ever athletes ; the Olympic 800–1500 metres double was never accomplished by any of their great 1980s middle distance trio, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett or Steve Cram.

23 AUG 2004 General News

Women's 800m Final

What a race! Kelly Holmes grabbed hold of a dynamic women’s 800 metres Olympic final with a piece of nerve, verve, strength and sheer bloody-minded determination, forcing her way past the defending champion, Maria Mutola (MOZ), barely three metres from the finish.

Such was the closeness of the blanket finish, in those next three metres, Mutola went from gold medal position to fourth, as Hasna Benhassi (MAR) and Jolanda Ceplak (SLO) went by her.

Holmes therefore won Britain’s first Olympic middle distance gold medal since 1984, recording a season’s best 1:56.38. Benhassi, from Morocco, was given a national record of 1:56.43 to go with the silver medal, but Ceplak was so close, that the Slovenian was given the same time.

In fourth, Mutola, who had been beaten only once in her previous 38 outings at the distance, also set a season’s best of 1:56.51. That was clearly no consolation: the Mozambican stormed from the track, avidly watched an action replay on a monitor, and clearly angered at the end result stormed through the mixed zone.

To think that a week ago, Holmes was not even going to run in this event. Such is the stuff that Olympic dreams are made.

Encouraged by her good form over two laps, Holmes opted to try both the 800 - in which her training partner, Mutola, was widely assumed to be unbeatable - as well as the 1,500. Tonight’s race unfolded perfectly for the 34-year-old from Kent.

With a clear race plan, Jearl Miles-Clark (USA) sped to the front, setting a seemingly suicidal pace that stretched the eight runners into single file by 200m, with Ceplak, Maria Cioncan, of Romania, Russia’s Tatyana Andrianova and Zulia Calatayud, from Cuba, all hanging on to the American’s coat tails.

“That first lap really knocked me out,” said Ceplak, who as Miles-Clark reached the bell in 56.37, was only fifth, shadowed by Mutola, and with Holmes, as she had done in the preliminaries, patient waiting, last of the eight, only just moving alongside Benhassi as they started the final circuit.

Holmes did her utmost to go with Mutola as the champion made her move down the back straight. Off the final bend, as Mutola ran in lane two to pass the fading front-runners and get on terms with Miles-Clark on the kerb, Holmes was running in lane three.

Into the straight, and the familiar tale of women’s 800-metre running of the past decade, with Mutola outlasting all-comers, seemed set to be repeated. But Holmes was having none of it.

As Benhassi and Ceplak both came wide, the Slovenian resurgent from seventh place at the 150 mark, they were quickly closing on the front two, the American drifted backwards.

But Holmes would not be beaten. The woman who placed fourth at the 1996 Games and third four years ago knew that this was her last, best chance to make Olympic history.

All four runners seemed to cross the line in a blink of an eye. The finish was so close that Holmes herself did not realise she had won until she saw a replay on the big screen beneath the Olympic flame. The expression on her face - a mixture of disbelief and unbridled joy - spoke volumes.

And now Holmes has another race to run in the morning.

800 m Women     Final 23 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.56.38     Kelly Holmes Great Britain GBR 19 Apr 70  
2 1.56.43     Hasna Benhassi Morocco MAR 1 Jun 78 NR
3 1.56.43     Jolanda Batagelj Slovenia SLO 12 Sep 76  
4 1.56.51     Maria Mutola Mozambique MOZ 27 Oct 72  
5 1.56.88     Tatyana Andrianova Russia RUS 10 Dec 79  
6 1.57.27     Jearl Miles-Clark United States USA 4 Sep 66  
7 1.59.62     Maria Cioncan Romania ROU 19 Jun 77  
8 2.00.95     Zulia Calatayud Cuba CUB 9 Nov 79  
21 AUG 2004 General News

Women's 800m - Semi-Finals

On Friday, Hasna Benhassi claimed the competitive scalp of the defending champion Maria Mutola in the first-round heats of the Olympic 800 metres. Tonight, she dealt a psychological blow to Jolanda Ceplak, the holder of the World indoor record, passing the Slovenian in the home straight to clock 1:58.59. Morocco’s former IAAF World indoor 1500m champion must rate her chances of success at these Athens Games very highly going into Monday’s final now.

In fairness, Mutola looked more comfortable than the day before, dictating a stronger pace in the third semi-final, leading the field through halfway in 57.84 and coming home, her rivals strung out behind her, in 1:59.30.

Kelly Holmes had won the first semi-final in impressive style. Jearl Miles-Clark, of the United States, led to the bell in 57.18, with Russia’s Tatyana Andrianova at her shoulder. At this point, Holmes was last.

But the Commonwealth 1500m champion then started to pick her way through the back markers, arrived at the shoulder of the leaders 150 metres from home, and when Andrianova made her move to win the race, Holmes kicked past her with telling effect.

Holmes’s 1:57.98 was a season’s best time and the fastest qualifier for the final, which will be missing Svetlana Cherkasova, only third in the final semi-final in 1:59.80 - both fastest losers into the final came from the first semi-final, where Holmes demonstrated the benefits of simple, even-paced running. The final could be a tactical master class.

800 m Women     Semifinal 1 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.57.98   Q Kelly Holmes Great Britain GBR 19 Apr 70  
2 1.58.41   Q Tatyana Andrianova Russia RUS 10 Dec 79  
3 1.58.71   Q Jearl Miles-Clark United States USA 4 Sep 66  
4 1.59.21   Q Zulia Calatayud Cuba CUB 9 Nov 79  
5 1.59.37     Agnes Samaria Namibia NAM 11 Aug 72  
6 2.00.21     Elisabeth Grousselle France FRA 6 Feb 73  
7 2.00.66     Amina Aït Hammou Morocco MAR 18 Jul 78  
8 2.00.94     Michelle Ballentine Jamaica JAM 31 Aug 75  
800 m Women     Semifinal 2 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.58.59   Q Hasna Benhassi Morocco MAR 1 Jun 78  
2 1.58.80   Q Jolanda Batagelj Slovenia SLO 12 Sep 76  
3 1.59.48     Tetyana Petlyuk Ukraine UKR 22 Feb 82  
4 1.59.50     Nicole Teter United States USA 8 Nov 73  
5 2.00.68     Natalya Khrushchelyova Russia RUS 20 Mar 73  
6 2.00.79     Lucia Klocová Slovakia SVK 20 Nov 83  
7 2.02.21     Marian Burnett Guyana GUY 22 Feb 76  
8 2.03.30     Mayte Martínez Spain ESP 17 May 76  
800 m Women     Semifinal 3 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.59.30   Q Maria Mutola Mozambique MOZ 27 Oct 72  
2 1.59.44   Q Maria Cioncan Romania ROU 19 Jun 77  
3 1.59.80     Svetlana Cherkasova Russia RUS 20 May 78  
4 2.00.30     Diane Cummins Canada CAN 19 Jan 74  
5 2.00.60     Jo Mersh Great Britain GBR 19 Oct 74  
6 2.00.64     Sultana Aït Hammou Morocco MAR 10 May 80  
7 2.02.00     Luciana Mendes Brazil BRA 26 Jul 71  
8 2.06.95     Letitia Vriesde Suriname SUR 5 Oct 64  
20 AUG 2004 General News

Women's 800m - Heats

Winning an Olympics is never supposed to be straightforward, although after three IAAF World titles outdoors, Maria Mutola’s progress towards a second Olympic 800 metres gold medal was widely assumed to be a foregone conclusion. Wrong.

The 31-year-old from Mozambique began the defence of her Olympic title looking somewhat sluggish tonight. Perhaps, after years of paced racing on the Grand Prix circuit, running a first lap in outside 62 seconds is alien to Mutola, who tucked herself in fifth place for the first 550 metres of the first of six heats, where only the first three finishers were guaranteed to advance to the semi-finals on Saturday.

When Mutola did respond to the attack of Hasna Benhassi, however, she made no immediate impression, coming home second, 2:01.20 to 2:01.50, and looking as if she would prefer a more evenly run race.

More impressive was Kelly Holmes, the winner of the third heat in 2:00.81. The Briton, the runner-up to Mutola at last year’s World Championships in Paris, had dithered over whether to race the two-lap event in Athens until earlier this week. Here, it appeared she need never have doubted herself.

After Letitia Vriesde, of Surinam, had set the early pace, reaching the bell in 59.73sec, Holmes found another gear off the final bend and breezed past Vriesde and Jearl Miles Clark, from the United States, taking the heat in 2:00.81.

Maria Cioncan, from Romania (1:59.65 - a personal best), and Jolanda Ceplak, of Slovenia (2:00.65), both won their heats in commanding style, and while Russia’s Svetlana Cherkasova’s 2:03.60 and Tatyana Andrianovas 2:03.77 heat-winning times were unremarkable, the style of their running suggested that there could be a lot more to come in the later rounds.

800 m Women     Heat 1 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 2.01.20   Q Hasna Benhassi Morocco MAR 1 Jun 78  
2 2.01.50   Q Maria Mutola Mozambique MOZ 27 Oct 72  
3 2.02.07   Q Tetyana Petlyuk Ukraine UKR 22 Feb 82  
4 2.02.12   Q Marian Burnett Guyana GUY 22 Feb 76  
5 2.02.61     Nédia Semedo Portugal POR 14 Nov 78  
6 2.08.97     Olga Zaporjan Moldova MDA 13 Dec 87  
7 2.12.35     Marlyse Nsourou Gabon GAB 27 Feb 87 NJR
800 m Women     Heat 2 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.59.64   Q Maria Cioncan Romania ROU 19 Jun 77  
2 2.00.05   Q Agnes Samaria Namibia NAM 11 Aug 72  
3 2.00.31   Q Elisabeth Grousselle France FRA 6 Feb 73  
4 2.00.56   Q Natalya Khrushchelyova Russia RUS 20 Mar 73  
5 2.01.19   Q Diane Cummins Canada CAN 19 Jan 74  
6 2.02.82     Miho Sato Japan JPN 14 Apr 78  
7 2.10.02     Adama Njie Gambia GAM 7 Feb 78  
800 m Women     Heat 3 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 2.00.81   Q Kelly Holmes Great Britain GBR 19 Apr 70  
3 2.01.52   Q Jearl Miles-Clark United States USA 4 Sep 66  
4 2.01.70   Q Letitia Vriesde Suriname SUR 5 Oct 64  
5 2.02.67     Tamsyn Manou Australia AUS 20 Jul 78  
6 2.06.39     Tatyana Khadjimuratova Kazakhstan KAZ 28 Sep 80  
7 2.32.10     Sanaa Abubkheet Palestine PLE 7 Dec 84  
  DNF     Anhel Cape Guinea-Bissau GBS 14 May 78  
800 m Women     Heat 4 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 2.03.60   Q Svetlana Cherkasova Russia RUS 20 May 78  
2 2.03.70   Q Amina Aït Hammou Morocco MAR 18 Jul 78  
3 2.03.72   Q Jo Mersh Great Britain GBR 19 Oct 74  
4 2.03.87     Claudia Gesell Germany GER 18 Dec 77  
5 2.03.96     Akosua Serwaa Ghana GHA 3 Jan 81  
6 2.06.31     Faith Macharia Kenya KEN 9 Feb 76  
7 2.22.88     Emilia Mikue Ondo Equatorial Guinea GEQ 20 Dec 84  
800 m Women     Heat 5 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 2.00.61   Q Jolanda Batagelj Slovenia SLO 12 Sep 76  
2 2.00.81   Q Mayte Martínez Spain ESP 17 May 76  
3 2.01.16   Q Nicole Teter United States USA 8 Nov 73  
4 2.01.36   Q Luciana Mendes Brazil BRA 26 Jul 71  
5 2.02.17   Q Lucia Klocová Slovakia SVK 20 Nov 83  
6 2.03.46     Binnaz Uslu Turkey TUR 12 Mar 85  
7 2.20.23     Marie-Lyne Joseph Dominica DMA 3 Sep 82  
800 m Women     Heat 6 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 2.03.77   Q Tatyana Andrianova Russia RUS 10 Dec 79  
2 2.03.95   Q Sultana Aït Hammou Morocco MAR 10 May 80  
3 2.03.99   Q Zulia Calatayud Cuba CUB 9 Nov 79  
4 2.04.00     Anita Brägger Switzerland SUI 6 Oct 72  
5 2.05.67     Hazel Clark United States USA 3 Oct 77  
6 2.06.23     Bibiche Mankatou DR Congo COD 25 Dec 80  
7 2.19.34     Tanya Blake Malta MLT 16 Jan 71  

 

 

 

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