Janeth Jepkosgei in action in the 800m (Getty Images)


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Amel Tuka 1:42.51 Bosnia-Herzegovina BIH
2 Nijel Amos 1:42.66 Botswana BOT
3 Ayanleh Souleiman 1:42.97 Djibouti DJI
4 Boris Berian 1:43.34 United States USA
5 Adam Kszczot 1:43.45 Poland POL


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Eunice Jepkoech Sum 1:56.99 Kenya KEN
2 Melissa Bishop 1:57.52 Canada CAN
3 Marina Arzamasova 1:57.54 Belarus BLR
4 Francine Niyonsaba 1:57.62 Burundi BDI
5 Rose Mary Almanza 1:57.70 Cuba CUB


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 David Lekuta Rudisha 1:40.91 Kenya KEN
2 Wilson Kipketer 1:41.11 Denmark DEN
3 Sebastian Coe 1:41.73 Great Britain & N.I. GBR
4 Nijel Amos 1:41.73 Botswana BOT
5 Joaquim Cruz 1:41.77 Brazil BRA


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Jarmila Kratochvílová 1:53.28 Czechoslovakia TCH
2 Nadezhda Olizarenko 1:53.43 Russia RUS
3 Pamela Jelimo 1:54.01 Kenya KEN
4 Ana Fidelia Quirot 1:54.44 Cuba CUB
5 Olga Mineyeva 1:54.81 Russia RUS

800 Metres

How it works

The shortest middle-distance event is run over two laps of a 400m track. Athletes make standing starts from staggered positions and run in lanes until the end of the first bend, which is when they can break for the inside.


Races over the ‘middle distances’ took place in the Ancient Olympic Games and were revived in the middle of the 19th century. A men’s 800m has been held at every Olympic Games since 1896. Women first contested it at the 1928 Games, but so many of them finished in a distressed condition that it was dropped from the roster and not reinstated until 1960.

Did you know

Cuba's Alberto Juantorena, aka White Lightning, is the only man to win the Olympic 400m and 800m titles at the same Games, doing so at Montreal in 1976.

Gold standard

European and African male athletes have shared success at the major championships of the past 20 years, although Kenyan athletes have won gold at the past two Olympics. African and Russian athletes have predominated in the women’s 800m. 


Wilson Kipketer

The ice-cool Kenyan-born Dane won three world titles and broke Seb Coe’s 16-year-old world record in 1997, running 1:41.24 in Zurich. Later that year, in Cologne, he lowered the mark to 1:41.11.

Maria Mutola

In an international career that spanned 20 years, the Mozambican athlete won three world titles and took Olympic gold (Mozambique’s first) in 2000.