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Coburn and Constien Advance To Olympic Final

Jul 31, 2021

TOKYO – Colorado track and field alums Emma Coburn and Val Constien both advanced out of prelims here Saturday evening to the 15-woman final in the 2020 Olympic women's 3,000-meter steeplechase run.
 
Team USA advanced all three women through to finals, one out of each of the three heats. Coburn advanced thanks to an automatic qualifying position in the first heat after a third-place finish, Courtney Frerichs won the second heat to advance and while Constien finished fourth in the final heat to advanced based on time in 9:24.31.
 
Coburn raced in the first race as one of only two athletes in the heat to run better than 9:10. Dealing with 98 degree heat and in direct sunlight,  Coburn tucked into second in the heat early then worked back to third as she held onto the final top automatic qualifying position. Once the bell lap hit, with a 20-meter gap on fourth, Coburn began to shut it down and let the other two go through as she cruised through in 9:16.91.
 
For the U.S., Courtney Frerichs ran in the second heat and finished first in her heat in 9:19.34 to advance.
 
Constien went up in the third heat knowing she needed to run faster than 9:31 as the time qualifier mark. Constien got out wide to be safe and sat sixth in the first lap. She stayed in that position for awhile as the race didn't break up much in the first few laps. She stayed in that mark five meters off the leaders with just a few laps remaining in a group of six. They passed through with two laps remaining near the seven-minute mark, close to the needed time qualifier for the entire group of six.
 
Constien hugged the back of a group of five that broke out with 600 meters remaining. At the bell around 8:13, Constien needed around a 77-second lap to finish in a position on time. Constien hugged the leaders from the inside, then after the water jump she kept inside and worked to pass into fourth in the final few meters. Her time of 9:24.31 was good enough to get her through to the final.
 
With her advance to final, Constien joins Coburn and Jenny Simpson as the only CU athletes to advance to the finals in the steeplechase in school history. Both Constien and Coburn will race the final Wednesday at 5 a.m. MT (8 p.m. Tokyo time).