Keely Hodgkinson and Laura Muir end long wait for Britain – how do they compare?

Hodgkinson impressively won silver over 800m before Muir surged past world champion and 5000m gold-medallist Sifan Hassan in the 1500m.

Tom White
Friday 06 August 2021 16:11
Keely Hodgkinson, left, and Laura Muir celebrate silver medals in Tokyo (Martin Rickett/Joe Giddens/PA)
Keely Hodgkinson, left, and Laura Muir celebrate silver medals in Tokyo (Martin Rickett/Joe Giddens/PA)

Keely Hodgkinson and Laura Muir have ended a 17-year wait for British Olympic medals over 800 and 1500 metres.

While there was no repeat in either event of Dame Kelly Holmes’ Athens golds in 2004, Hodgkinson impressively won silver over 800m before Muir surged past world champion and 5000m gold-medallist Sifan Hassan in the 1500m to emulate her team-mate.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the pair ended the barren run.

A long wait

Dame Kelly Holmes celebrates winning 800m gold in 2004 (Phil Noble/PA)

Holmes was the last British winner in either the women’s or men’s events at those distances, with the last men’s medals being silvers for Sebastian – now Lord – Coe in the 1984 800m and Peter Elliott in the 1500m four years later.

While Sir Mo Farah had won over longer distances there had been no female medallist over 800m or above from 2008 onwards, with Lisa Dobriskey’s fourth place over 1500m in 2008 the closest anyone had come to emulating Holmes.

In the 800m, Lynsey Sharp’s sixth place at Rio 2016 made her the only British woman since Holmes to even reach a final until Hodgkinson, Jemma Reekie and Alex Bell ensured triple representation this year. Muir, Dobriskey and Laura Weightman had all reached 1500m finals in the interim.

Muir also became Scotland’s first individual medallist in any track event since Liz McColgan won 10,000m silver in Seoul 33 years ago.

How they compare

Muir improved her own British record in the 1500m, three days after 19-year-old Hodgkinson beat Holmes’ 26-year-old mark in the shorter event.

Comparisons to Holmes’ best times remain apt, with the world and Olympic 800m records unchanged since and Paula Ivan’s Olympic 1500m mark from 1988 standing until Faith Kipyegon’s run of three minutes 53.11 seconds to beat Muir on Friday. The world record in the longer race has also only been improved once, Genzebe Dibaba in 2015 taking 0.39 seconds off the 1993 record set by China’s Qu Yunxia.

Holmes ran a personal best of 3:57.90 to win the 1500m, with Muir holding the national record going into Tokyo at 3min 55.22sec and lowering that to 3:54.50 behind Kipyegon.

In the 800m, Hodgkinson had set a PB of 1:57.51 in early July, a week after beating Muir and fellow Tokyo finalist Jemma Reekie at the Team GB trials. That compared to Holmes’ gold-medal run in Athens of 1:56.38 and career best of 1:56.21, and Hodgkinson blew past both of those with 1:55.88 in her final.

Muir’s training partner Reekie finished fourth in that final with Bell seventh.

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