Two-time Olympic gold medallist Kenyan David Rudisha will not defend his 800m title at the Tokyo Olympics, according to his agent Michel Boeting. The 2012 and 2016 Olympic winnner and twice world champion has not competed since 2017. Tokyo will thus see a newly-crowned 800m champion.
The 32-year-old David Rudisha created world record at the 2012 London Games when he became the first and only runner to break the 1.41 barrier, clocking 1:40.91s to win gold. The final has been called The Greatest 800m Race Ever’.
Four years later, David Rudisha was on the top of the podium once again in Rio de Janeiro winning in 1:42.15s. However, it seems that a hat-trick of wins at the Olympics will not happen.
“He stopped the 2017 season with an injury which took some time to establish what it was. We found out what was the problem around April-May 2018,” Boeting was quoted as saying to LetsRun.com. “But it takes time to heal. 2018 the season was written off already.”
David Rudisha suffered a quad strain in 2017 that kept him out of the World Championships. He also had a problem with a tendon connected to his sitting bone before suffering a fractured ankle in 2020.
“Then he started working again in 2019. He trained, but (his) motivation was really for the Olympics, not for anything else, so maybe that held him back a little. Then in 2020, he started but then the whole COVID thing came. Then he (fractured his ankle), which threw him back again. And since then, it’s hard to get fit,” added Boeting.
Personal setbacks played a big role in David Rudisha's career
Many personal problems have led to David Rudisha’s long absence from the track. He got separated from his wife first and then lost his father, Daniel, a 1968 4×400 relay Olympic medalist, in 2019. That same year he also survived a scary car crash.
Unable to cope with all the setbacks, David Rudisha went on partying and put on more weight which made his return more difficult. However, according to Boeting, David Rudisha has not officially retired from the sport and still aims to be the first man to win three Olympic 800m titles.
With no David Rudisha on the scene, 2019 world champion Donavan Brazier of the USA has emerged as the hot favourite for the title in Tokyo. If Brazier wins it at the Tokyo Olympics, he could become the first American to win an Olympic 800m title since Dave Wottle at the 1972 Munich Games.