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Dutch runner Sifan Hassan fell on the final lap of the women’s 1500-metre second heat, and just like that, the 2019 world champion’s hopes and dreams of Olympic glory were dashed.
Or so everyone thought.
Despite falling to 11th place with 300 metres to go after Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok slipped and tumbled into her, Hassan picked herself back up and went on a mission to win the heat.
The 28-year-old's sheer will to win sparked widespread reaction on Twitter:
As impressive as it was, expending that kind of effort to come all the way back and finish first could come back to bite her.
Hassan became the first athlete to enter the “triple” at an Olympics: the 1500-metre, 5000-metre, and 10,000-metre. She needs to preserve every ounce of energy she can to succeed in each event — a total of 24,500 metres ran if she reaches the final in all three.
All she needed to do to reach the following 1500-metre round was finish sixth, but she turned on the afterburners and could pay for it in the 5000-metre final taking place Monday morning — not to mention the 1500-metre semifinal on Wednesday, the 1500-metre final on Friday and the 10,000-metre final on Saturday.
Hassan pulled off the unthinkable once, and she’ll have to do it again.
The four-time world championship medallist was born in Adama, Ethiopia but fled to the Netherlands as a refugee when she was 15 years old and became a Dutch citizen in 2013.
Canadian sisters Gabriela Debues-Stafford and Lucia Stafford also advanced to the 1500-metre semifinals.
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