Jenny Simpson Does It – Wins Diamond League Final and Title By Diving Across The Finish Line

August 28, 2014

Jenny Simpson did it.

The 2011 World Champion found a way to hold on and win the Diamond League final by .01 over Shannon Rowbury by diving over the finish line in 3:59.92 as both Americans went sprawling to the track.

With the win, Simpson picked up $50,000 for her efforts in the thrilling race as she also won the season-long Diamond League points title, becoming just the second American to ever win a DL mid-d/distance points title (Morgan Uceny won the 1500 in 2011).

Jenny Simpson - dives for the finish Jenny Simpson dives for the finish

More importantly, Simpson, for the first time in her career, now has to be regarded as the best 1500 woman on the planet. Prior to today, Simpson had accomplished an awful lot in her career – 2011 Worlds gold, 2013 World silver, sub-4 clocking – but never had she held the unofficial title of “World’s Best Women’s 1500 runner”.

That changed today as the win was her second DL victory on the year – equaling the two won this year by Sifan Hassan and Abeba Aregawi. Given Aregawi’s late-season fade, there is no chance Aregawi will receive the world #1 ranking at the end of the year. Considering Simpson beat Hassan four of the five times this year that they raced at 1500 (defeating her in Shanghai, Pre, Stockholm and Zurich, losing only in Paris), it’s clear to us that Simpson should end the year with the #1 ranking.

Down goes Simpson Down goes Simpson

The Race

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Simpson and Hassan started this race at opposite ends of the field. Simpson got out aggressively and was running near the rabbits, who hit 400 in 62.87 (Simpson was just over 63) whereas Hassan was dead last at 400 in around 65. At 800 (roughly 2:08-mid for Simpson), Hassan was in the middle of the pack and by the bell, the two were right behind each other with Simpson in the lead and Hassan in second.

Coming off the final turn, Simpson still led but Hassan was lurking on her shoulder. Hassan went way wide and pulled even with Simpson early on the homestretch but instead of going by Simpson as many expected considering Hassan had been gaining on Simpson the whole race, Hassan instead started to go backwards.

Simpson was driving for the finish line but Rowbury, who had been gapped by the leading duo by about 5 meters with just 120 meters to go, suddenly started gaining on Simpson. Rowbury was trying to steal the race by staying in lane one.

Simpson was all out, tying up as she tried to get the finish line. Contact was made just before the finish and both went sprawling to the track.

Simpson realizes she's the winner Simpson realizes she’s the winner

Who won?

Simpson didn’t know herself. She got up and looked at the scoreboard for some sort of answer. After a brief delay, Simpson figured out she was the winner when she was handed flowers by meet officials after a brief delay. “Oh my God, I won,” said Simpson, but it wasn’t clear if she was saying that as a statement or a question.

Simpson had indeed won.

Results appear on with right. Quick take analysis appears below.

1500 Metres – Women
1 Simpson , Jennifer USA 3:59.92
2 Rowbury , Shannon USA 3:59.93
3 Kibiwot , Viola Jelagat KEN 4:00.46
4 Hassan , Sifan NED 4:00.72
5 Bahta , Meraf SWE 4:01.34
6 Martinez , Brenda USA 4:01.36
7 Belete , Mimi BRN 4:01.63
8 Aregawi , Abeba SWE 4:03.40
9 Obiri , Hellen Onsando KEN 4:04.75
10 Del Buono , Federica ITA 4:06.80
11 Sum , Eunice Jepkoech KEN 4:10.22
12 Jamal , Maryam Yusuf BRN 4:18.10
Jelagat , Irene KEN DNF
Wright , Phoebe USA DNF
Intermediate times:
400m WRIGHT, Phoebe (USA) 1:02.87
800m JELAGAT, Irene (KEN) 2:07.95
1200m SIMPSON, Jennifer (USA) 3:12.21

QT #1: Jenny Simpson, Diamond League Champion The title speaks for itself. Jenny joins Morgan Uceny as the only American distance Diamond League champs and Jenny was the deserved champion as she was consistent all year long. Since Hassan faded over the final 50 meters to fourth, the way things worked out in this race, Jenny would have won the Diamond League title even if she had finished second.

During the indoor season when Genzebe Dibaba ran 3:55.17 and Aregawi 3:57.91, if we told you Jenny Simpson would be your Diamond League champion you probably wouldn’t have believed us. Jenny, the World Champion in 2011, however, found a way to win this year. She hadn’t won a Diamond League race in 2014 until last week. Now she’s got two DL wins this year (three overall) and the overall title. Since rejoining forces with college coach Mark Wetmore last year, Jenny has put her career more than back on track and been consistently good.

Simpson Versus Hassan This Year


1500 m

Jenny Simpson USA

Sifan Hassan NED

Diamond Shanghai 2014-05-18

4:00.42 (2)

4:01.19 (3)

Pre Eugene OR 2014-05-31

3:58.28 (4)

3:59.38 (5)

Areva Saint-Denis 2014-07-05

3:57.22 (2)

3:57.00 (1)

DNG Stockholm 2014-08-21

4:00.38 (1)

4:01.62 (3)

WK Zurich 2014-08-28

3:59.92 (1)

4:00.72 (4)




Rowbury went down at the end of this as well Rowbury went down at the end of this as well

QT #2: What a year for Shannon Rowbury. Prior to this year Rowbury was in the unfortunate position of having PRs of 2:00, 4:00, and 15:00. The American ran well in 2013, running 4:01.28 and getting a Diamond League 3000m win versus a weak field, but under the tutelage of coach Alberto Salazar she took it too a new level in 2014. She went sub-15:00 for the first time, and now has gone sub-4:00 twice, including tonight where she nearly got her first 1500m Diamond League win.

QT#3: Did Hassan cost herself the title and race with poor tactics (by running sub-15 between 400 and 500)?

 Hassan often goes out in the back and works her way through the field. Tonight, however, she was dead last at 400 before making a big move between 400 and 500 to put herself in a better spot tactically. We went back and watched a race replay and timed that 100 for Hassan in a ridiculous 14.98.

QT #4: Abeba Aregawi Season’s Comes Tumbling Down Aregawi ran 3:57.91 indoors and then ran 3:57.57 at Pre (to finish 2nd). She was only 10th last week in Stockholm and 8th here to finish the Diamond League season on a big downward swing. She’s also under investigation by tax authorities in Sweden and we wonder if some of the off-the-track issues are affecting her.

Simpson at the start of the final 100 Simpson on the outside of lane 1

QT #5: Might Simpson or Rowbury have deserved a DQ? When Simpson started the final 100, she was on the very outside of lane one. Near the finish, right before the contact was made with Rowbury, she was near the middle of lane 1. A runner is supposed to pick a line and stick with it. In reality, most runners drift out and never get DQd but given the fact Simpson drifted in, there was contact and the race was decided by only .01, a DQ wasn’t out of the question.

Of course, it can also be argued that Rowbury deserved a DQ. On a turn, a runner is naturally going to drift wide. Simpson never left lane one, meaning Rowbury would have scant space to get by on the inside without making contact. Simpson’s stretch-run tactics were what smart coaches advocate — run on the outside of lane 1 and don’t ever leave enough space to get passed but give people the false hope they can get by on the inside.

On the messageboard, people are arguing both ways:

Is there enough space for Rowbury to pass? Is there enough space for Rowbury to pass?

Jenny Simpson just ROBBED that win from Rowbury!!! (Will Salazar get her DQd?) 

It reminds us of a close pass interference call in the NFL – it’s in the eye of the beholder.

Screen shots don’t do this justice.

We’ve got the final 120 meters from our partner Universal Sports below.

Then we went and zoomed in on the replay of the stretch run and show that below.

The key part seems to be from the 11 to 15 second mark where Simpson drifts towards the middle of lane 1.

Discuss this race in our forum:JENNY SIMPSON WINS DIAMOND LEAGUE – Dives over finish line, beats Rowbury by .01!
*Jenny Simpson just ROBBED that win from Rowbury!!! (Will Salazar get her DQd?) 
*Rowbury beat Simpson. Look at the finish photo.
*Sorry but…Jenny Simpson Flopped

Jenny Simpson - The 2014 DL Champion Jenny Simpson – The 2014 DL Champion
Simpson and the DL trophy Simpson and the DL trophy
Simpson gets a kiss from husband Jason Simpson Simpson gets a kiss from husband Jason Simpson
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