Sifan Hassan was entering the final lap of her 1,500 meter heat yesterday, when she suddenly found herself headed towards the ground because of the falling runner in front of her.
Instead of giving up, Hassan picked herself up and blazed by each runner one by one, rapidly making up ground. Hassan surged and passed the front pack of five runners. She’d won the heat.
“I can’t believe it,” she said after her win, according to Reuters. “I used all my energy this morning and I was kind of tired. I couldn’t believe what happened. It was terrible when I tripped.”
“I felt terrible afterwards and I never thought I am going to be [an] Olympic champion,” she continued.
It only got better after that as the Dutch runner went on to win gold in the women’s 5,000 meter race that same day, becoming the first ever Dutch woman to medal in a long-distance race.
She is not finished as her plan is to leave the Games having won gold in the 1,500 meter, 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter races, something that’s never been done before.
During the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships, Hassan won gold in both the 1,500 meter and the 10,000 meter races.
“For me, it is crucial to follow my heart,” she said in a statement. “Doing that is far more important than gold medals. That keeps me motivated and it keeps me enjoying this beautiful sport.”