Second Gold for Meseret Defar a Long Time In Coming

Ethiopia's Meseret Defar celebrates her win in the Olympic 5,000-meter final at the London Games on Friday, August 10, 2012 (AP)

Runner’s World

By Sabrina Yohannes, Published: August 11, 2012.

Meseret Defar crossed the finish line of the London Olympic 5000m with disbelief, relief and pain etched on her face, and she fell to her knees on the ground. Clutching, kissing and holding aloft an image of the Madonna and Child that she had hidden in her tank top, the Ethiopian Defar wept, repeating the Amharic words, “Amlake hoy! Amlake hoy!” (“My God! My God!”).

Defar had won the 5000 at the 2004 Athens Olympics and failed to defend it in Beijing four years later, when she took bronze behind her teammate and rival Tirunesh Dibaba and Turk Elvan Abeylegesse. In London, Defar prevailed in a last-lap sprint over her highly more favored competitors, the 2011 double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya  and the Beijing and London 10,000 champion Dibaba, who took silver and bronze, respectively, in the English capital.

“After eight years, for me to win gold here is a great achievement, and I feel as if I’ve been born again,” said Defar. “To win gold in your third Olympics is very difficult. I have passed through some difficult times. I have lost out at championships due to illness. This was a very critical Olympics for me because I might not contest another Olympics, so I thank God.”

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