3000 meter Steeplechase for Men at Olympics: The 3000 meter steeplechase is an event which resembles to the hurdling events. This is also an obstacle race like the hurdle events. The event was developed in the British islands. The name of the event has been derived from the popular category of horse racing, the steeplechase. The steeplechase event included into the modern athletics is the transformed version of the two mile long cross country steeplechase race. In 1860, the event was included in the sports program of the Oxford University. In 1865, the two mile event was dropped from the program and a new event including barriers on a flat field took its place.
The 3000 meter steeplechase is the standard distance covered in the steeplechase race. The event is as demanding as the hurdle race. Excellent speed and sound technique are needed to win the 3000 meter steeplechase event. However, the 3000 meter steeplechase can be considered to be distance race rather than a sprint race. In the 3000 meter steeplechase event, the obstacles are similar to the hurdles. However, in this event, the blocks on the lanes do not overturn. The barriers used in the 3000 meter steeplechase event are of the height of 3 feet, same as the hurdles used in the intermediate hurdle events. The length of the race is equal to the length covered in seven and a half laps around the 400 meter track. The barriers are set after the first half lap of the track. In each lap, there are five barriers placed, which the athletes have to overcome.
3000 meter Steeplechase for Men in Summer Olympics: In the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games, the 3000 meter steeplechase for men was included in the Olympic track and field athletics program. Since then, the event has been held regularly in the Summer Games. The event has been dominated by the Kenyan athletes.
Rules for 3000 meter Steeplechase for Men at Olympics: The International Association of Athletics Federations or IAAF has set rules for the track and field athletic events. The rules applicable to the 3000 meter Steeplechase event at the international competitions are as follows-
- The 3000 meter steeplechase event should include 28 jumps and 7 water jumps.
- In each lap of the 3000 meter steeplechase race, five jumps should be taken by the athlete. The fourth jump would be water jump.
- The Steeplechases should be made in such a way, that they could be adjusted in different height for different events.
- The length of the water pit is determined by the IAAF.
- The athletes have to go through the water jump. An athlete jumping on one side of the water pit should be readily disqualified. However, the athletes are allowed to go over the hurdles in any possible way.
- Obstructing competitors' way during the race will make an athlete liable to be disqualified from the competition.
- An athlete stepping out of the track during the race is considered to be out of competition.
- The timing device, which is used for measuring the time of the race, has to be approved by the IAAF.
Medal Winners in the 3000 meter Steeplechase for Men at Olympics: The Kenyan athletes have been leading the domain of the 3000 meter steeplechase event since the advent of the event. Some famous athletes who have become star of the event are Saif Saaeed Shaheen, Ibrahim Boulami, Moses Kiptanui, Ezekiel Kemboi, Reuben Kosgei, Joseph Keter, Matthew Birir, Julius Kariuki, Julius Korir, Bronislaw Malinowski, Anders Garderud, Kipchoge Keino, Amos Biwott, Gaston Roelants, Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak, Chris Brasher, Horace Ashenfelter, Tore Sjostrand, Volmari Iso-Hollo, Toivo Loukola and Percy Hodge
Trivia: In the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Games, the distance of the final 3000 meter steeplechase race was 3490 meter instead of 3000 meter. This was due to an error in the counting of the laps. If the race was finished in 3000 meter, Joe McCluskey would have won the silver medal in the event. However, the opportunity of a re-run was turned down by him.
During the last ten Olympics, the Kenyan athletes had won the Olympic 3000 meter steeplechase title eight times. In the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, they did not participate for the boycott of the Games.
Finnish athlete Volmari Iso-Hollo is the only one to win the Olympic title in the 3000 meter steeplechase event twice.