USA’s Elle St. Pierre Wins 3000m World Indoor Gold in Huge Upset Over Gudaf Tsegay

The US had never won world indoor 3000 gold until tonight

GLASGOW, Scotland – Elle St. Pierre, world champion.

Those are not words many thought would ever come together, but they did on Saturday night as the American sprinted by heavy pre-race favorite Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia down the homestretch to win the 2024 World Indoor 3000m title in an American and championship record time of 8:20.87.

The time shattered the previous American record of 8:25.05 that Alicia Monson set last year and moved St. Pierre to #3 on the all-time world indoor list.

Tsegay, who ran 8:17.11 earlier this winter to just miss the 8:16.60 world record, got the silver in 8:21.13, as steeplechase wolrd record holder Beatrice Chepkoech got the bronze in a Kenyan record of 8:22.68. Jess Hull of Australia didn’t medal but she did take home an Australian record of 8:24.39 as a nice consolation price in fourth. Hometown hero Laura Muir surprisingly was never a factor in the medals and settled for 5th in a season’s best of 8:29.76.

Elle St. Pierre World Champion (Kevin Morris photo) Elle St. Pierre, world champion (Kevin Morris photo)

The Race

The race started out extremely fast as Beatrice Chepkoech did her customary thing and took it out hard. Her first 400 split of 65.07 was faster than all but one of the opening 400m splits for the men’s 3000m finalists, which took place after this event. The pace then slowed a bit and at 1k (2:48.83), Gudaf Tsegay went to the lead to keep the pace honest. She increased the pace and would lead all the way until the closing meters.

Tsegay hit 1600 in 4:28 and eight women were still in the lead pack with Muir in 8th just hanging on at the back. With six laps remaining, the top 5 women – the eventual top four finishers plus defending champ Lemlem Hailu of Ethiopia – startedd to separate as Tsegay hit 2k in 5:35.78 (2:49.01, 2:46.77 for Tsegay).

With four laps to go, Hailu had been dropped and Muir was ten meters behind the lead four-woman pack. Muir never gave up but she’d never be a factor the rest of the way.

The post-race splits reveal that Tsegay gathered herself for the finishing kick during the penultimate 400, which she covered in 69.15, with the 100 between 2500 and 2600 being the slowest of the night (17.69). Tsegay then surged and opened up a small gap with 300 meters remaining but her chasers responded and did not give up.

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St. Pierre, who had been in fourth the entire race since the 1k mark, moved into third just before the bell and she moved into second on the backstretch. The battle for gold was now on. In the end, shockingly it was the American who ended up winning thanks to a final 200 of 29.76 and final 100 of 14.69.

“It’s definitely really emotional. It’s a dream come true,” said St. Pierre, who said the race played out exaclty how she anticipated (fast) and she thought that was to her benefit. “I knew it would be a fast race. I knew there was amazing athletes that I was going up against and I think that I was confident that that would work to my benefit. And so I just tried to get myself into a good position and hang on to the pace and close as fast as I could. It was nice to not to be thinking about pace that much and just to be competing out there.

“I just hung on to the pace and I was like, OK, OK, I think you can do a few more laps at this pace as long as it doesn’t pick up too much. And then next thing I knew there was 400 to go. And I was like, OK, I can run a fast 400. And so I just hung on and, you know, I believed in myself because, you know, I’m a miler,” added St. Pierre, who said she believes giving birth in March 2023 has made her stronger.

Video of the finish, results and analysis appear below.

In other women’s action, Femke Bol won the women’s 400 in a world record of 49.17, former Texas star Julien Alfred captured the women’s 60 in a co-world leading time of 6.98, as Molly Caudery earned Britain’s first female gold at the 2024 World Indoors as she won the pole vault with a 4.80 clearance. WA recap of those events is here.

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Results Women’s 3000m 2024 World Indoors

Place Athlete Country Time
1 Elle St. Pierre USA 8:20.87 CR
2 Gudaf Tsegay ETH 8:21.13
3 Beatrice Chepkoech KEN 8:22.68 NR
4 Jessica Hull AUS 8:24.39 AR
5 Laura Muir GBR 8:29.76 SB
6 Lemlem Hailu ETH 8:30.36 SB
7 Hirut Meshesha ETH 8:34.61
8 Nozomi Tanaka JPN 8:36.03 AR
9 Teresiah Muthoni Gateri KEN 8:38.96 SB
10 Marta García ESP 8:40.34
11 Josette Andrews USA 8:41.93 SB
12 Hannah Nuttall GBR 8:48.24
13 Ludovica Cavalli ITA 8:48.46
14 Águeda Marqués ESP 8:48.57
15 Roisin Flanagan IRL 8:53.02 PB
16 Emeline Imanizabayo RWA 9:28.58 PB

St. Pierre won the silver two years ago but her win was a huge shock — though not to everyone

Everyone knew coming into Worlds that Elle St. Pierre was in great shape. But given the fact she was facing the world indoor 1500 record holder in Tsegay, who just missed the indoor 3000 world record by .09 last year and .51 in Liévin on February 10, many pundits assumed Tsegay was unbeatable.

That assumption didn’t apply to St. Pierre’s camp as her agent, Ray Flynn told that St. Pierre’s coach Mark Coogan of New Balance Boston told him before the race St. Pierre would win. And she did.

It was the first-ever gold medal in the women’s 3000 for an American. The US has now won every single event currently contested at World Indoors except for the women’s triple jump. What a way to do it — by knocking off Tsegay, who also of course has won an outdoor world title at 10,000 (2023) and 5000 (2022) in the last two years, in addition to setting the 5,000m outdoor WR last year.

Gudaf Tsegay expected gold but accepted the outcome

A translator told us that Tsegay ”said I’m not feeling good today because as a woman something happened,” so we assume that means she was on her period.

Beatrice Chepkoech post-race

Jessica Hull was proud of the way she ran 

Laur Muir seemed at peace with not medalling on home soil

Muir said she wouldn’t have run World Indoors had it not been in her native Scotland but she was glad to give it a go. She said she expected that if she was going to medal she’d have to try to come from behind but she just wasn’t quite able to do it.

Josette Andrews post-race

Femke Bol post-WR

Molly Caudery after winning pole vault gold

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