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Can Kenyan David Rudisha steal Usain Bolt’s spotlight?

Kenya's David Lekuta Rudisha competes in his men's 800m round 1 heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on Monday.

KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS

While the world watches Usain Bolt try to record a historic double on Thursday by winning the 200 metres, one other athlete could steal some of Bolt's thunder; David Rudisha.

The 23-year old Kenyan dominates his event, the 800 metres, even more than Bolt dominates sprinting. Rudisha not only holds the world record, at 1:41.01, he has run six of the ten fastest times in history. He hasn't lost an 800 in three years and he destroyed the field at the world championships last year. No one has come within two seconds of Rudisha this season.

He rarely bothers with racing tactics. He simply charges to the front, pushes the pace and leaves others to try and hang on.

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The only real question in Thursday nights 800 metre final will be whether Rudisha will break his own record. He has been coy, suggesting that his main objective is winning a gold medal, something he hasn't done despite his remarkable career.

"He's really, really probably, I will say, the most impressive track and field athlete at these Games," said Sebastian Coe, chair of the London Olympic organizing committee and a former 800m world record holder and Olympic champion. "The 800 metres is the most difficult race to get right. There are just so many different disciplines that are needed to get round those two laps. It's probably the most complicated discipline so there is always potential for error."

But he had no hesitation when asked Thursday who would win the final: "David Rudisha the outstanding 800 metre runner of a generation."

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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