Report04 Aug 2012

London 2012 - Event Report - Heptathlon 800m


Jessica Ennis of Great Britain celebrates winning gold in the Women's Heptathlon on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 (© Getty Images)

One of the clearest gold medal favourites in London did not leave any question about who is the best heptathlete in the world right now. 26-year-old Jessica Ennis brought the gold home in stylish fashion capping a great competition with a classic win in the 800m clocking a 2:08.65 season’s best in the 800m for a total of 6955 points, the second national record of the season and the best winning mark at the Olympics in 20 years (surpassing Carolina Klüft’s (SWE) 6954p from 2004 by 1 point) since Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s 7044p in Barcelona 1992.

The Briton, who had to pass the 2008 Olympic Games because of an injury and who didn’t succeed in defending her World title from Berlin in Daegu last season with a poor result in javelin throw, in London set a total of four personal bests (including heptathlon total points) and one additional season’s best with no bad results in any of the seven events.

The two British records in 100m Hurdles and Heptathlon mean that Ennis now holds three national records (also co-holder of the high jump record), not something many heptathletes can say.

The absolute highlight was of course the first event, where Ennis clocked a 12.54 NR and Heptathlon world best. Ennis moves to number five in the world all-time list with this result.

For the other two medals there was a big controversy in the last event. In the last lap it seemed like German Lilli Schwarzkopf had done enough to win the silver medal starting her final sprint with 300 metres to go and finishing in fourth place in about 2:10 right behind Russian Tatyana Chernova, but after a long wait she was disqualified for breaking for the inside lane too early in the opening curve. This would have been a big blow to the 28-year-old, who placed eighth at the 2008 Olympics and added a huge 113 points to her 4-year-old personal best and placed second in the competition with 6649 total points.

Fortunately for the German her misfortune was short lived as she was reinstated in the 800m later in the evening for the silver. The determination of the German was huge in the last event as she only missed her six-year-old PB 2:09.63 by less than a second clocking a season’s best 2:10.50, the best result for her since June 2006 and the third best all-time.

The bronze medal went to 2011 World champion Chernova, who despite not really rolling like usual at any point of the Heptathlon, showed that she is good enough to win a medal even this way. She scored 6628 points for third place having run a decent 2:09.56 800m. This is her second Olympic bronze as she was also third in Beijing 2008 being only 20 years old at the time.

In the fierce competition other places went quite exactly as was promised in the earlier Heptathlon javelin event recap. Ukrainian Lyudmyla Yosypenko ran a season’s best 2:13.28 800m and got a surprising fourth place as her reward with a total of 6618 points, a big personal best adding a massive 117 points to her earlier best from May 2012.

2004 Olympics silver medallist Austra Skujyte of Lithuania fought well starting the 800m clearly looking for a personal best, but faded badly in the last 50 metres narrowly losing the fourth place to the Ukrainian there and finished in fifth place with a 6599 point personal best just 19 points from the bronze medal. The 32-year-old was in great form too as she broke the 6500 point limit for the first time and scored 106 points more than her previous PB from earlier this season.

2012 European champion from Helsinki, Ida Antoinette Nana Djimou of France set a personal best in her second straight Heptathlon in about five weeks scoring 6576 for sixth place.

Canadian Jessica Zelinka was seventh this time with 6480 points adding another top performance at the Olympics in addition to her fifth place finish in Beijing 2008. Russian Kristina Savitskaya placed eighth in her first major championships scoring 6452 and Latvian Laura Ikauniece was ninth with a personal best 6414 total points.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
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