On Monday, for the second time in history, an American woman medalled in the 10,000-meters at the IAAF World Championships. Twenty-five-year-old Emily Infeld took the bronze in Monday’s race in Beijing, running a time of 31:43.49, behind Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya (31:41.31) and Gelete Burka of Ethiopia (31:41.77).
Late in the race, the leaders included three Kenyans, three Ethiopians, and three Americans. On the last lap, Cheruiyot and Burka pulled ahead, with U.S. 5,000-meter record holder Molly Huddle close behind. In the final straightaway, Huddle was so certain she had secured third place—and her first medal in a major championships—that she threw up her arms in celebration a stride before crossing the line. At that moment, Infeld lunged past her on the inside of the track, beating her teammate to the tape by 900ths of a second.
“Emily slipped by on the inside as I eased up a bit,” Huddle said in a post-race interview with Universal Sports. “She got this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I feel like it kind of slipped through my fingers, so it's frustrating...This is going to be a tough one to swallow."
For more on the perils of celebrating too early, read this recent In Stride article.