“Cost Me the Win”- USA Steeplechase Star Emma Coburn Reflects on Her Tragic Fall Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 07/10/2021, 11:07 AM EDT
EUGENE, OREGON – JUNE 24: Emma Coburn reacts as she crosses finish line in the Women’s 3,000 Meter Steeplechase Final on day seven of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 24, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)


Fans gasped in shock as Emma Coburn failed to clear the final water jump in her 300m Steeplechase race at the Monaco Diamond League, costing her the race and a place on the podium in general. The favorite to win the event at the Olympics for the USA faltered at the death to pull up short of what could have been a historic finish. 

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Coburn is a master of her art and has been flawless in the steeple chase races she participates in. She was flawless this time as well and was closing in on the win before tripping on the final obstacle and falling into the water pit. 

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The break in momentum proved too much and at that stage of the race was undoubtedly costly. Hyvin Kiyeng, whom Emma Coburn was about to catch up to, held on to the lead and secured the gold. Coburn however, finished fourth and lost everything in what may have been the blink of an eye. 

Emma Coburn was close to breaking the Diamond League record

The gold medallist at the Olympic trials in the USA was closing in on a new record at the event. Emma Coburn needed to run a 70-second last lap to shatter the record set three years ago at the Diamond League by fellow American Courtney Frerichs. Her failure to clear the last obstacle broke what could have been a huge morale-booster ahead of Tokyo.

“Ugh that was was 99% perfect….but it has to be 100%,” Coburn tweeted after the event. “Big fall on the last water jump cost me the win and a potential PR (personal record) and (Diamond League) record. Onto the next.”

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Emma Coburn as well as the spectators knew fairly well that she was capable of making that time in the last lap. At the trials held at Eugene, Oregon, she managed to run under 70 seconds in the last lap, beginning it at 8:00.55 and ending at 9:09.41.

EUGENE, OR – JULY 07: Emma Coburn celebrates after finishing first in the Women’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase Final during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on July 7, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, the sub 9:00 continues to elude her, and it may just be something on her mind she heads to Tokyo. The Olympics this year will be held without spectators. For long instance runners, the importance of crowd support cannot be overlooked and the absence of this form of motivation might have its effects on the race. For Emma Coburn, it will surely be one obstacle at a time. 

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Luke Dias

1483 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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