It was a superb day for Colorado Buffaloes Track & Field. Forever Buffs Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson, two of the most beloved CU athletes of all-time, medaled at the IAFF World Championships on Friday, and they did so rather memorably.
Emma Coburn, 26, is probably the greatest ever American steeplechaser. At CU and in world competition, she has earned countless recognitions and set just about every record possible. Coburn’s most notable accomplishment, at least up until yesterday morning, was becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in steeplechase, which she did in Rio in 2016.
Coburn set an American record with her bronze-winning run, but that record only lasted a year. Not only did Coburn break her own record by 16 seconds (!!!) on Friday, she did so by winning the gold medal in stunning fashion. She was neck-and-neck with her compatriot Courtney Frerichs in the final seconds, but Coburn kicked at the last second to give her a photo finish victory.
Coburn’s celebration with Frerichs was great to witness (via Deadspin):
Someone also captured the reaction from Emma’s sister:
Not to be outdone, Jenny Simpson (née Barringer) was also incredible in her 1500 meter run. Simpson, 30, is another of Colorado’s most revered athletes and she continues to shine in her competition. Like Coburn, Simpson became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in her competition when she won bronze at Rio 2016.
On Friday, Simpson added to her illustrious career by winning silver in a hectic final lap in what some experts have called the “best race [they] have ever witnessed.” Simpson and the other racers went into a full-on sprint in the final lap, and because of how close they all were, no one knew what place they had finished until it was shown on screen. When Simpson saw she had finished second, her reaction was priceless (via Deadspin):
After that, Simpson sprinted another lap in celebration (via Deadspin):
It was an incredible day for the Colorado Buffaloes and we couldn’t be more proud of Coburn and Simpson.