Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics – Women's 800 metres

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Women's 800 metres
at the Games of the XXX Olympiad
Mariya Savinova and Ekaterina Poistogova - Womens 800m - 2012 Olympics.jpg
Mariya Savinova and Ekaterina Poistogova celebrate after the race
Venue Olympic Stadium
Date 8–11 August
Competitors 45 from 35 nations
Winning time 1:56.19
1st, gold medalist(s) Caster Semenya[1]  South Africa
2nd, silver medalist(s) Ekaterina Poistogova  Russia
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Pamela Jelimo  Kenya
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The Women's 800 metres competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. The event was held at the Olympic Stadium on 8–11 August.[2] The race was won by Mariya Savinova, but she has since been stripped of the gold medal for doping.

Doping accusations[edit]

In 2013, Elena Arzhakova (who ran sixth) was found to have violations in her biological passport and was suspended backdated to July 2011, disqualifying her from the race a year after the fact.

On November 9, 2015, the Independent Commission Investigation of the World Anti-Doping Agency asked for a lifetime ban for doping for the Russians Mariya Savinova (who won gold) and Ekaterina Poistogova (who won bronze).[3] In February 2017, it was announced that Savinova was stripped of her gold medal.[4] Poistogova was suspended in 2017 for 2 years, backdated to October 2014, but her London result is not affected.[5]


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH) 1:53.28 Munich, West Germany 26 July 1983
Olympic record  Nadezhda Olizarenko (URS) 1:53.43 Moscow, Soviet Union 27 July 1980
2012 World leading  Pamela Jelimo (KEN) 1:56.76 Heusden-Zolder, Belgium 7 July 2012
Broken records during the 2012 Summer Olympics
2012 World leading  Mariya Savinova (RUS) 1:56.19 London, United Kingdom 11 August 2012


All times are British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Date Time Round
Wednesday, 8 August 2012 11:35 Round 1
Thursday, 9 August 2012 19:30 Semifinals
Saturday, 11 August 2012 20:00 Finals

Competition format[edit]

The Women's 800m competition consisted of heats (Round 1), semifinals and a final.[6] Twenty-four athletes advanced from the heats to the semifinal round. The top three competitors from each of the six heats qualified for the semifinals along with the six fastest losers. A total of eight competitors qualified for the Final from the semifinals. In the three semifinal races, the first two from each semifinal advanced to the final along with the two fastest losers.[6]

Race description[edit]

While heat 3 and heat 5 of the qualifying round allowed some athletes to run as slow as 2:07s or 2:08s and qualify, the semifinals were decidedly quicker. In heat 1, Pamela Jelimo and Ekaterina Poistogova managed to qualify virtually together in mid 1:59s, those were the slowest times. In heat two, 2009 World Champion Caster Semenya challenged the field, leading Elena Arzhakova, Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei and Alysia Johnson Montaño into the finals. Halima Hachlaf ran 1:58.84 and didn't make the final. In the third heat reigning world champion Mariya Savinova led virtual newcomer Francine Niyonsaba into a 1:58.67 new national record for Burundi.

In the final, Montaño went to the front, with Jelimo and Jepkosgei Busienei on her shoulder, while Savinova and Semenya went to the back. The front-running Montaño hit the halfway mark in 56.31. Those positions held through 500 metres, when Jelimo charged out to a big lead down the back stretch, Montaño started to slow while Savinova started to move forward. At the 600 metre line, there was a confluence of runners moving forward meeting those moving backward. Savinova on the outside found herself in second place, though Jelimo had a 4-metre lead. Semenya was behind the wall of runners. In the next 100 metres, Savinova caught Jelimo, passing into the lead at the head of the straightaway and on to victory. Semenya was a full 10 metres back, but on the outside of traffic. As she went by, Montaño had slipped back to join a forward-moving Arzhakova. As Semenya went by, Montaño accelerated enough to separate herself from Arzhakova and held that until the finish in what would ordinarily be an also-ran position of fifth place. In the last 100, Semenya ran past the rest of the field, taking second place, but was too far behind to have a chance to catch Savinova; Poistogova edged a dying Jelimo for the bronze medal.[7]


Video on YouTube Official Video Highlights

Round 1[edit]

Qual. rule: first 3 of each heat (Q) plus the 6 fastest times (q) qualified.

Heat 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Alysia Johnson Montaño  United States 2:00.47 Q
2 Caster Semenya  South Africa 2:00.71 Q
3 Halima Hachlaf  Morocco 2:00.99 Q
4 Rose Mary Almanza  Cuba 2:01.19 q
5 Annabelle Lascar  Mauritius 2:05.45 PB
6 Elena Popescu  Moldova 2:06.94
N/A Noura Elsayed  Egypt N/A DNS

Heat 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Mariya Savinova  Russia 2:01.56 Q
2 Alice Schmidt  United States 2:01.65 Q
3 Tintu Luka  India 2:01.75 Q
4 Malika Akkaoui  Morocco 2:01.78 q
5 Andrea Ferris  Panama 2:05.59
6 Haley Nemra  Marshall Islands 2:14.90 SB
7 Merve Aydın  Turkey 3:24.35

Heat 3[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Francine Niyonsaba  Burundi 2:07.57 Q
2 Jessica Smith  Canada 2:07.75 Q
3 Genzeb Shumi  Bahrain 2:07.77 Q
4 Amina Bakhit  Sudan 2:09.78
5 Amy Atkinson  Guam 2:18.53 NR
N/A Liliya Lobanova  Ukraine N/A DNS
N/A Fantu Magiso  Ethiopia N/A DNS
N/A Kenia Sinclair  Jamaica N/A DNS

Heat 4[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Pamela Jelimo  Kenya 2:00.54 Q
2 Lynsey Sharp  Great Britain 2:01.41 Q
3 Eleni Filandra  Greece 2:02.29 Q
4 Geena Gall  United States 2:03.85 q
5 Cavela Felismina  Angola 2:10.95 PB
6 Rabia Ashiq  Pakistan 2:17.39
N/A Yuliya Krevsun  Ukraine N/A DNF

Heat 5[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Nataliia Lupu  Ukraine 2:08.35 Q
2 Elena Arzhakova  Russia 2:08.39 DSQ
2 Cherono Koech  Kenya 2:08.43 Q
3 Maryna Arzamasava  Belarus 2:08.45
4 Lenka Masna  Czech Republic 2:08.68
5 Melissa Bishop  Canada 2:09.33
6 Aicha Fall  Mauritania 2:27.97 NR
7 Woroud Sawalha  Palestine 2:29.16 PB

Heat 6[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei  Kenya 2:01.04 Q
2 Ekaterina Poistogova  Russia 2:01.08 Q
3 Rosibel Garcia  Colombia 2:01.30 Q
4 Elena Mirela Lavric  Romania 2:01.65 q
5 Margarita Matsko  Kazakhstan 2:02.12 q
6 Neisha Bernard-Thomas  Grenada 2:03.23 q
7 Elisabeth Mandaba  Central African Republic 2:12.56
8 Sarah Attar  Saudi Arabia 2:44.95 NR


Qual. rule: first 2 of each heat (Q) plus the 2 fastest times (q) qualified.

Heat 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Pamela Jelimo  Kenya 1:59.42 Q
2 Ekaterina Poistogova  Russia 1:59.45 Q
3 Rosibel Garcia  Colombia 2:00.16 SB
4 Alice Schmidt  United States 2:01.63
5 Nataliia Lupu  Ukraine 2:01.63
6 Rose Mary Almanza  Cuba 2:01.70
7 Lynsey Sharp  Great Britain 2:01.78
8 Eleni Filandra  Greece 2:04.42

Heat 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Caster Semenya  South Africa 1:57.67 Q
2 Elena Arzhakova  Russia 1:58.13 DSQ
2 Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei  Kenya 1:58.26 q
3 Alysia Johnson Montaño  United States 1:58.42 q
4 Halima Hachlaf  Morocco 1:58.84 SB
5 Tintu Luka  India 1:59.69 SB
6 Elena Mirela Lavric  Romania 2:00.46
7 Neisha Bernard-Thomas  Grenada 2:00.68 SB

Heat 3[edit]

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Mariya Savinova  Russia 1:58.57 Q
2 Francine Niyonsaba  Burundi 1:58.67 Q, NR
3 Margarita Matsko  Kazakhstan 1:59.20 PB
4 Malika Akkaoui  Morocco 2:00.32
5 Cherono Koech  Kenya 2:00.53 SB
6 Genzeb Shumi  Bahrain 2:01.76
7 Jessica Smith  Canada 2:01.90
8 Geena Gall  United States 2:05.76


Rank Lane Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1st, gold medalist(s) 7 Caster Semenya  South Africa 1:57.23 SB
2nd, silver medalist(s) 2 Ekaterina Poistogova  Russia 1:57.53 PB
3rd, bronze medalist(s) 6 Pamela Jelimo  Kenya 1:57.59
5 4 Alysia Johnson Montaño  United States 1:57.93
6 3 Francine Niyonsaba  Burundi 1:59.63
7 8 Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei  Kenya 2:00.19
DSQ 5 Mariya Savinova  Russia 1:56.19 DSQ (1st)[8]
DSQ 9 Elena Arzhakova  Russia 1:59.21 DSQ (6th)[9]


  1. ^ Mallon, Bill (26 Sep 2017). "2008-12 OLYMPIC DOPING RE-TEST – AN UPDATE-UPDATE". Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  2. ^ Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics
  3. ^ "La Wada chiede la squalifica a vita per 5 atleti: i primi nomi". 9 November 2015.
  4. ^ Savinova stripped of London Games 800m gold for doping, Reuters, 10 Feb, 2017
  5. ^ Russian athletes and coaches banned by CAS, SBS, 8 April 2017
  6. ^ a b "Women's 800m". London 2012 Organising Committee. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Mariya Savinova: Russian London 2012 gold medallist stripped of title
  9. ^ Arzhakova was later disqualified due to a doping violation