Double Olympic distance-running gold medallist Sifan Hassan has opened up on how she felt lucky to “survive” after Tokyo 2020.
Hassan won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000m events at last year’s Olympics and finished third in the 1,500m –– becoming the first person to medal in all three of these events at the same Games.
The Ethiopian-born Dutch runner also holds the world record time in the 5km road race, the mile and the one hour run.
Hassan is just the second person to complete an Olympic distance double but missed out on an unprecedented third gold in the 1,500m in Tokyo.
But in an interview with BBC World Service, the 29-year-old revealed she was not disappointed to have missed out but relieved to have made it through the Games alive.
In just eight days, Hassan pushed her body to the limit and covered more than 15 miles on the track. And the distance runner admitted her body felt the impact of being pushed to the limit.
"Honestly, at that moment, I was just so happy to survive," she said.
"I was really in pain, I was suffering so much, I was sweating very, very, very hard, all my face was burning, my hand was burning, all my body was burning. I felt I had no water inside me.
"I thought I was going to pass out. In that moment I didn't mind about gold, I just wanted to be alive and healthy."
Hassan’s ability to contend in three separate events in such a short amount of time came as a shock to many but the distance-runner believes she has now proven it is possible.
Speaking about the possibility of challenging for three gold medals again in the future, Hassan stressed it would be easier the second time around.
“I don't think it will be as hard as in Tokyo, because I have done it,” she told the BBC.
"Even if another athlete had done it, it is going to be much easier because we know it is possible.
"Something is always more difficult when we don't know before."
While Hassan has predominantly competed on the track throughout her career, she is now planning on making the step up to marathons.
It will be an extraordinary achievement if she can balance both, but the Dutch star has already shown she is capable of almost anything.News Now - Sport News