I really hope Emma Coburn takes the gold in this event. There, I said it, I am going to be cheering full on for the American in the Women’s edition of the premier event in track and field.
Emma enters the race as one of the most decorated athletes to ever compete in the Women’s Steeple- She won bronze at the Rio Olympics, gold in the 2017 World champs and Silver from the 2019 World Championships in Doha. But it is going to be far from easy for Coburn to claim the gold medal in Tokyo as the field is very tight and there are several women with legitimate gold medal dreams. World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will be the stiffest competition for Coburn. Chepkoech’s season got off to a slow start, but she has steadily progressed her fitness and arrives in Tokyo looking fit and ready to throw down. Chepkoech’s compatriot Hyvin Kiyeng comes into Tokyo with the 2021 World lead having clocked an impressive 9:03 at the Monaco Diamond league (despite kicking a lap early!)
There is also a very impressive trio of young Ethiopian women looking to make waves in Tokyo. Look for Lomi Muelta, Zerfe Wondemagegn and Mekides Abebe to all get stuck in and compete for hardwear- with Abebe being one to especially keep an eye on.
Canada will have three women lining up and looking to seriously compete for spots in the final. Vetran Genevieve Lalonde has ample major games experience and will no doubt show up ready to race.
Regan Yee enters Tokyo off the back of setting a new Canadian Record of 9:27, a time that will no doubt put her in contention of making the final.
The Canadian team is rounded out by Yee’s training partner Alycia Butterworth who has had a breakout season to earn her spot in her first Olympic games.
The steeple is the best event in the world, and I cannot wait to follow all the drama that is sure to play out over the preliminary rounds and into the final. There will be heartbreak, exhilaration and probably even a fall or two.