Olympic Athletes >> Vivian Cheruiyot
- Date of birth
World Championships (4 medals - 3 golds, 1 silver)
- 5000m: 1st (2009, 2011), 2nd (2007)
- 10,000m: 1st (2011)
World Indoor Championships (1 medal - 1 silver)
- 3000m: 2nd (2010)
World Cross-country Championships (2 medals - 2 gold)
- Long distance: 1st (2011)
- Team long distance event: 1st (2011)
World champ Cheruiyot targets Olympic double
Double world champion over 5000m and 10000m in 2011, Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot now has the coveted Olympic target of repeating her South Korea achievements when she takes to the track in the English capital as the 28-year-old hopes to confirm her domination of women's long distance running.
Her date with Olympic destiny comes five years after her 5000m world silver medal in Osaka behind the Ethiopian great Meseret Defar and three years after her first world title over the same distance when the 2009 championships took place in Berlin.
Only the Olympic gold medal is missing from a honour list that also includes the 2011 world cross-country title won in the south of Spain at Punta Umbria and a a discipline she excels in having taken cross-country junior silver in 1999 and the gold medal one year later in 2000.
Since the age of 11, the slight athlete of just 1.55m and 38kg from the Rift valley has always put her career at the top of her priorities.
"I began taking athletics seriously in 1996 when I was still competing in school competitions. I knew I had the talent, and the motivation was never a problem for me, but now my main objective is to win the Olympic gold," she confessed.
Defar, the reference
Cheruiyot will take part in her third Olympiad at London after finishing 14th in the 5000m at Sydney 2000 as a 17-year-old. "I was rather proud of that result because to participate at the Olympics was huge for me," she remembers.
She missed the 2004 Athens Games after failing to qualify for the Kenyan team but came back to finish fifth in the 5000m at Beijing in 2008.
Now also a force to reckon with over 10000m, Cheruiyot can both lead from the front of the pack or leave it late before demonstrating her devastating kick over the final laps.
She became the first Kenyan woman to achieve the world championship 5000m/10000m double and now dreams of emulating her illustrious compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba who won the long distance double at the the Beijing Games.
A chief-corporal in the police, her main rivals will be her idol Meseret Defar from Ethiopia, compatriots Sally Kipyego, Sylvia Chibiwott Kibet and Linet Chepkwemoi Masai or the American Shalane Flanagan, not to mention Tirunesh Dibaba who could yet return to the Games if she can overcome a series of recent injuries and regain her best form.
For Cheruiyot, an Olympic triumph would be the ultimate achievement and will also help erase the disappointment of missing out on the 2011 athlete of the year which was awarded to Australian hurdler Sally Pearson.
Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.