How it works
Runners compete over 25 laps of a 400m track. They make bunched standing starts and can break immediately for the inside.
The Ancient Greeks organised a number of events akin to today’s long-distance races. During the mid-19th century, races for betting purposes were very popular in Great Britain and the USA.
Every Olympics since 1912 has included a men’s 10,000m, but it wasn’t until 1988 that a women’s version featured at the Games.
Did you know
When Kenenisa Bekele won the men’s Olympic 10,000m title in 2004, he ran the final lap in 53.02 – a time quick enough to have taken bronze in the women’s 400m at the 1964 Games.
Ethiopians and Kenyans dominate the men's event, while China and Ethiopia have a strong tradition in the women's event.
The Finn with the knack of peaking for the big occasion is the only man to claim successive Olympic 5000m and 10,000m doubles at the Olympics, in 1972 and 1976 – and that’s despite a fall in the 1972 10,000m final.
The pioneer of Ethiopian women’s endurance running, Tulu was the first woman to win two Olympic 10,000m golds, winning in 1992 and 2000. Her niece Tirunesh Dibaba went on to achieve the same feat, winning in 2008 and 2012.