UPDATE: To see Cabral’s run, click here and scrub it to 3:28.00.
Did you ever think that Donn Cabral would be an Olympic finalist some time in the future? Someday is today.
Cabral ran from the front, pushing the pace, in the third and final semifinal of the steeplechase at the 2012 Olympic Games in London this morning. He led at 1k (2:46.00), 2k (5:36.40) and at the bell.
He was passed on the final lap by Ethiopia’s Roba Gari, Kenya’s former Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi (who finished out in lane 7 for reasons known only to him) and Morocco’s Hamid Ezzine to finish fourth, but that earned Cabral an automatic spot in Sunday’s final. His time was 8:21.46.
“It was pretty fun,” said Cabral. “You know I was thinking I was going to be the one to take the pace if no one else was; I was completely okay doing that. On one hand it is kind of cool to lead an Olympic race, even a lap of it would be cool, never mind 2,600 meters, and then on the other hand international races get really crazy, there is a lot of pushing and shoving and I didn’t want to ruin my Olympic dream because I was getting shoved by someone, or hitting a barrier, or running slower because I was worried about hitting a barrier.”
Cabral also took to Facebook, writing, “During the race I could hear the roars from 80,000 in the stands but I could feel everyone screaming at their computers and TVs back home! Today was unreal.”
Along with the powerful Kenyans, Cabral and American record holder Evan Jager — who finished in 8:16.61 for second in the first heat — will be in the 15-man final.