In a historic moment for women and Team USA athletes, Emma Coburn won the Olympic steeplechase bronze medal and she's the first woman in the U.S. to do it. The Aug. 15 event was the 3000-meter women's steeplechase race and there was a lot on the line for every athlete, but especially for the Team USA athletes.
The top three finishers were athletes from Bahrain, Kenya, and the United States. Ruth Jebet of Bahrain took the gold medal and finished in 8 minutes and 59.75 seconds. Jebet's time was the second-fastest in history, according to NBC's Olympics site, and only a second less than the world record. Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi of Kenya took the silver medal, coming in more than seven seconds after Jebet. Although the bronze medal is the last of the winning medals, Coburn's win was historic both for her and for the U.S. With an impressive time of 9 minutes and 7.63 seconds, Coburn took the bronze medal and became the first woman in the U.S. to do so. In fact, according to NBC, Coburn became the first U.S. woman to even step foot on the Olympic podium for the steeplechase event since its inception (for the women's competition anyway) in 2008.
Coburn has had an impressive Olympic history in previous years' competitions, too. In the 2012 London Olympics, she finished the steeplechase event at 9 minutes and 27 seconds, which was her personal best at the time. This year, she beat her personal record by nearly 20 seconds and went from 8th place in London to third place and a bronze medal in Rio just four years later.
In fact, Coburn has continued to get better throughout the years. In the 2011 World Championships, she finished in ninth place. She continued to move up a little bit each year since, which has ultimately led to her historic success at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
This is Coburn's first Olympic medal and it's undoubtedly a sweet personal victory, as well as an incredible feat for Team USA women athletes. Fans and supporters quickly took to Twitter to express their happiness for Coburn in this amazing moment for the Olympic athlete.
Setting a new American record and becoming the first U.S. woman to medal in the steeplechase is no easy accomplishment. It's clear that Coburn has worked hard for this moment and she deserves all the praise.