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

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.

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
VenueOlympic Stadium
Date8–11 August
Competitors45 from 35 nations
Winning time1:56.19
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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Doping accusationsEdit

In 2013, Russian 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 formatEdit

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 descriptionEdit

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, virtual newcomer Francine Niyonsaba finished with 1:58.67 on the clock, a 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 1Edit

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

Heat 1Edit

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 2Edit

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 3Edit

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 4Edit

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 5Edit

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 6Edit

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 1Edit

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 2Edit

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 3Edit

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
  7 Caster Semenya   South Africa 1:57.23 SB
  2 Ekaterina Poistogova   Russia 1:57.53 PB
  6 Pamela Jelimo   Kenya 1:57.59
4 4 Alysia Johnson Montaño   United States 1:57.93
5 3 Francine Niyonsaba   Burundi 1:59.63
6 8 Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei   Kenya 2:00.19
N/A 5 Mariya Savinova   Russia 1:56.19 DQ (doping)[8]
N/A 9 Elena Arzhakova   Russia 1:59.21 DQ (doping)[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