David Lekuta Rudisha is the current Olympic champion and World record holder in the 800 metres as well as the current Olympic Champion at the distance. He was the first to run under 1:41.00 for the event, and he holds the three fastest, six of the eight fastest, and half of the twenty fastest times ever run in this event.
He started on the tracks as a 400 metres runner until April 2005, when he met James Templeton, who literally spun the wheels of his career and set it on a different and more challenging path.
David Rudisha joined the group of runners managed by Templeton, a group which at different times have trained brilliant runners like Japheth Kimutai, Augustine Choge and Bernard Lagat. With the support and encouragement from his Irish coach Colm O’Connell and fellow runner Wilson Kipketer, David decided to try the 800 metres race.
In 2006 he became the world junior champion over that distance.
About Kipketer, David says; “I met him last year and he told me, “I can see you have a future in the 800m, you can beat the world record” He encouraged me to go for it.”
And like Kipketer presaged, David made it through and set a new record. Since then it’s been no holds barred for the young Kenyan track master.
Strength they say, is not in doing successfully the things we knew we could do, but in doing the things we thought we could never do.
Born in Kilgoris, Narok County, David attended Kimuron Secondary School, located in Iten Keiyo District. A school notable for grooming several top-class runners including Wilson Kipketer, the previous 800 m world record holder, who had already held the record for several years before David joined the school.
This 26 year old champion is the recipient of 3 consecutive Track and Field Athlete of the Year awards; In November 2010, at the age of 21, he became the youngest ever athlete to win the IAAF World Athlete of the year award.
In September 2009, he won the IAAF Grand Prix in Reiti, Italy, setting a new African Record of 1:42.01, he beat the 25-year old record of 1:42.28 set by compatriot Sammy Koskei and earned the fourth place spot on the all-time list.
In the 2010 IAAF Diamond League, David defeated Sebastian Coe’s 31-year-old meet record with a run of 1:42.04, giving him another place in the top-ten fastest ever 800 m and on 10 July 2010, he again ran the 800 m in 1:41.51 at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium; this new personal record placed him at the No. 2 spot of all-time, in the world for the 800 m.
Although David’s parents were popular sports champions- His father, Daniel Rudisha is a former runner who won silver medal at the 1968 Olympics and his mother Noami Rudisha was a 400m hurdler, David has worked exceptionally to carve his own niche in the sports world.
On August 9, 2012 at the Summer Olympics in London, Rudisha led from start to finish to win gold in what was acclaimed “The Greatest 800 Metre Race Ever”, making him the first and, so far, only runner to have broken the 1:41 barrier for 800 m.
For David, the win was “a wish come true”. Before the race, he made an honest but interesting wish, “It would be good for me to win gold, so we can have gold and silver in our family . . . so I can tell him, ‘I am better than you.”
And because hard work and hope are an indomitable team, David hit the record and made history.
Remember, it’s difficult to beat a man who never gives up. Don’t ever give up.