Vivian Cheruyiot is the most decorated track and field Kenyan female athlete with an impressive collection of 4 Olympic and 5 World championships medals. She is the 5000m Olympic Champion and two-time 10000m and 5000m World Champion. In addition to being the 3- time 5000m Diamond league Champion and 2012 Laureus World Sportswoman of the year.
Known for her devastating last lap speed and her resilient fighting spirit, Vivian Cheruyiot is a generational Athlete and a National Sports hero having represented Kenyan in 4 Olympics.
Here are her top 5 moments on the track:
5. World Championships, Berlin 2009
In the previous championships in Osaka, Japan; Cheruyiot had taken home the silver behind Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar. In Berlin she was evidently going for the gold with an impressive display of front running and team work with her Kenyan counterparts; dictating the pace and gearing up for a final kick. In the final lap the heat was turned on and with 200m to go, Meseret made her move for the front, Cheruyiot casually let her pass and like a cobra stealthily glided on her outside to prepare for the final attack on the homestretch. With the target in sight, Cheruyiot sprinted past a tiring Defar for gold. Her compratriot, Sylvia Kibet nipped Defar at the line to win silver. Cheruyiot had led a Kenyan 1-2 finish in the most emphatic fashion.
4: African Championships, Nairobi 2010
Cheruyiot was on home turf and has a lot to prove. Kenyan fans packed in the Nyayo stadium in Nairobi were expecting sterling performances from their sports stars. Cheruyiot did not disappoint. In a slow paced race that eventually picked up in the final laps, Cheruyiot winded up the field cheered on by her adoring Kenyan fans. Her last lap of 57 seconds was devastating to the rest of the field and left the whole stadium in a frenzy.
3: Double 10000m and 5000m, Daegu 2011
In Daegu, Cheruyiot was indominable. She led a clean sweep with Kenyan taking the first four positions in the 10000m.
In the 5000m race, she faced off against the Ethiopians (Defar). Taking the lead in the final laps, she wasn’t about to relinquish it. She carefully judged her pace and confidently led the field into the final lap where she unleashed her short-strided yet effective kick. With a final surge with 200m to go, she brilliantly galloped her way to a double gold at the championships (The first ever for a Kenyan).
2: World championships, Beijing 2015
2015 was Cheruyiot’s comeback year after giving birth to her first born son. Her sights were set on the 10000m gold. Her from was undeniable as she raced home with her customary finishing kick edging out Ethiopia’s, Gelete Burka for gold.
London Olympics 2012
London Olympics were Cheruyiot’s Third Olympics representing Kenya. In the 10000m she wasn’t able to dethrone the defending Cahmpion, Tirunesh Dibaba but settled for a consolation bronze.
In the 5000m, she faced off against Dibaba and Defar. All were in superb form and it came down to tactics. In the final stretch she was able to claw back Dibaba but Defar was too far ahead and she won the silver medal.
10000m Brazil 2016
Cheruyiot won silver behind Almaz Ayana whose record breaking run led Cheruyiot to running the third fastest time ever of 29:32:53.
1: Rio- Olympics Brazil 2016
After winning silver in 10000m, Cheruyiot was pumped up for the 5000m. The only way to beat Ayana was to use team tactics. As expected, Ayana blasted off in the beginning of the race and with six laps to go she had a sizeable lead. The Kenyans used team tactics to chase her inching closer with every lap. With two laps to go, Cheruyiot went past Ayana and so did Helen Obiri. Ayana couldn’t respond. Cheruyiot’s superior pace was unbeatable as she charged for gold, elegantly crossing the line for that much earned victory.