|Date||7 August 2021 — 19:45|
|Location||Japan National Stadium, Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo|
|Participants||29 from 18 countries|
The favorite was the 2019 World Champion, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, but by the day of the race (7 August) she had already won the 5,000 metres on 2 August, and won a bronze medal in the 1,500 the day before the 10K. She was expected to be challenged by Kenya’s Hellen Obiri who had trailed Hassan for silver in the 5K, and Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, who was the world record holder.
The 10K was a final only event, as it had been since 2004 at the Olympics. As in the 5K Japan’s Ririka Hironaka took the field through the early laps, leading for two kilometres at a dawdling pace before Gidey went to the lead at 3,000 metres, realizing she had to do something to blunt Hassan’s kick.
By five kilometres only seven runners remained in medal contention, and Gidey took the field to 6,000, as only she, Hassan, Obiri, and Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne remained together. Gidey kept the pace fast and Obiri would soon drop back. Over the final kilometre Gidey slowed slightly, unable to maintain the quick tempo that had been unable to drop Hassan. She still led over the last lap until Hassan turned on the burners off the last turn and Gidey could not answer. She would drop back to the bronze medal position, while Gazahegne challenged on the final straight, but Hassan was never in danger and won the gold medal.
For Sifan Hassan this completed a remarkable distance triple – gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 and a bronze medal in the 1,500. No woman had ever even run all three races before at a single Olympics, and it had only been done five times by men, with the best performance by Kenyan distance pioneer Kip Keino at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, where he won 1,500 gold and 5K silver.
|AC||3073||Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal||NOR||–|