Two Days, Two World Records: Meet the 10k Women

By Hayden Shearman

Within the space of just 48 hours the women’s 10,000m world record was broken twice by two different women. Who are these women and what can we expect from them lining up against each other in Tokyo?

Here are the top six facts to know for each of these speedy ladies:  

Sifan Hassan
28 years old
Ran a world record of 29:06.82

  1. Aged 15 she moved to the Netherlands as a refugee from Ethiopia and started running in nursing school.
  2. At the 2019 Doha World Athletics Champs she claimed the gold in both the 1500m and the 10,000m—the first time this double has ever been done in World Champs and Olympics, male or female.
  3. She has incredible range with a 1:56.81 PB in the 800m and European records in the 1500, 3000, 5000, half marathon and now the 10,000 as well.
  4. In 2016 she won the 1500m Indoor World Champs.
  5. Also in 2016 she began working with coach Alberto Salazar who in 2019 was banned for doping violations (although none of his former athletes have failed a test).
  6. She owns the mile world record of 4:12.33 (set at Monaco in 2019).

Letesenbet Gidey
23 years old
Ran 29:01.03 two days after Sifan’s world record 

  1. She’s the fourth child of a farming family in Ethiopia (with two older brothers and a sister).
  2. In October 2020 she set the world record for the 5000m of 14:06.62
  3. Shined as a junior winning two world cross country titles in 2015 and 2017.
  4. Hit the world spotlight in 2019 coming 2nd in the Doha World Champs in the 10,000m and claiming the road world best in the 15k (with a time of 44:20!).
  5. Broke the 10,000m world record during the Ethiopian Tokyo Olympic trials.
  6. Her home in Ethiopia is the war-torn province of Tigray (near the border of Eritrea).

Now the question is, who will win the 10,000m at the Olympics? And could either of them be the first to dip under both 29 minutes for the 10k and 14 minutes for the 5k?