Jenny Simpson won bronze in the women’s 1,500 meters on Tuesday with a time of 4:10.53, becoming the first American woman to medal in the event since it was added to the Olympic program in 1972.
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon won gold with a time of 4:08.92, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba took silver (4:10.27) and Simpson’s U.S. teammate, Shannon Rowbury, finished just off the podium in fourth-place in 4:11.05.
The 29-year-old Simpson, who ran at the University of Colorado, failed to qualify for the 1,500-meter final at the 2012 London Games, which was one of the dirtiest races in Olympic history. Turkey’s Asli Cakir Alptekin is serving an eight-year ban for doping and was stripped of her gold medal. Gamze Bulut, also of Turkey, was stripped of her silver medal and is under investigation for a possible doping violation.
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Dibaba, the world record holder in the event, was the favorite to win gold after she posted the top qualifying time of 4:03.06. After that race, Simpson called out Dibaba, whose coach, Jama Aden, was arrested in June on suspicion of having performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think you know a tree by the fruit that it bears,” Simpson said. “If a tree bears sour fruit, the fruit around it are likely infected. I think if [the World Anti-Doping Agency] is on the case, they’ll find what they need to find. I hope so.”
Kipyegon’s gold medal-winning time of 4:08.92 was well off the blistering pace set by Dibaba when she set the world record at the Diamond League meet in Monaco last year.
Simpson and Rowbury were in sixth and eighth, respectively, heading into the final lap.