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A Comprehensive Look at Olympic Steeplechase

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A Comprehensive Look at Olympic Steeplechase

Brian Diemer, the 1984 Olympic bronze medalist, in 1990.

Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images
Now you know what happened to that neighborhood kid who ran outside to jump in puddles after every rain. He became a steeplechase runner. The event that began as a race from the church steeple in one town to the church steeple in another has evolved into a 3000-meter track event where competitors leap hurdles and water pits along the way. And beginning in 2008 the women got to play in the water, too, at the first-ever Olympic women's steeplechase event.

About Olympic Steeplechase:

They run, they jump, they splash. Steeplechase competitors must leap over wide, immovable hurdles - often side-by-side with other runners - and can't help but get their feet wet in the 12-foot long water pits. Read more about how steeplechasers accomplish these tasks.

Olympic Steeplechase History:

Women didn't compete in Olympic track and field until 1928. Today, the list of women's events is almost the same as that of the men. The day when the two lists are exactly the same drew a step closer as the women's 3000-meter steeplechase made its Olympic debut in 2008. On the men's side, from 1984-2008 Kenyans won all seven gold medals plus five silvers and three bronzes. Brian Diemer was the last U.S. steeplechase medalist, winning the bronze in 1984.

Action Image Gallery:

Watch elite steeplechasers run, jump and splash their way to victory in the following action photos.

The Athletes:

Take a look at the top 2012 Olympic steeplechase hopefuls, from the U.S. and around the world, then catch up with some familiar names from the past with these selections.

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