|Competitor for the United States|
|Gold||2007 Osaka||1500 m|
|Gold||2007 Osaka||5000 m|
|Silver||2009 Berlin||5000 m|
|Bronze||2009 Berlin||1500 m|
|Competitor for the United States|
|World Indoor Championships|
|Gold||2010 Doha||3000 m|
|Competitor for Kenya|
|Silver||2004 Athens||1500 m|
|Bronze||2000 Sydney||1500 m|
|Silver||2001 Edmonton||1500 m|
|World Indoor Championships|
|Gold||2004 Budapest||3000 m|
|Silver||2003 Birmingham||1500 m|
Bernard Kipchirchir Lagat (born December 12, 1974, Kapsabet, Kenya) is a middle and long distance champion athlete who now represents the United States. In July, 2008, Lagat won the US Olympic Trials in the 1500 m and 5000 m, making the US Olympic team in both events. In August 2009, he won the 5000m silver and 1500m bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
He graduated from the Kaptel High School in 1994, where he had started his athletics career. He joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi 1996. Later in the same year he moved to Washington State University where other Kenyan athletic greats such as Henry Rono and Michael Kosgei prospered.
In 1998, while at WSU, Lagat won three NCAA individual championships; indoor mile and 3000m, as well as the 5000m outdoors.
In 2000, Lagat graduated from Washington State University—as athletic greats from Kenya had done before him—with a degree in management information systems.
A large number of Lagat's siblings have also competed in athletics; his older sister Mary Chepkemboi won the 3000 m at the 1994 African Championships in Athletics. Lagat's younger brother, Robert Cheseret, is a multi-time PAC-10 champion runner for the University of Arizona
Lagat first represented his native Kenya at 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Using team tactics, Lagat and Kenyan team mate Noah Ngeny kept heavy favorite Hicham el Guerrouj from winning gold. In a very close finish, Ngeny took gold, Guerrouj won Silver, and Lagat captured bronze. Lagat finished the year being ranked #3 in the world at 1500m.
The next summer, Lagat won the silver medal, behind Guerrouj, at the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, and later that summer, at a meeting in Bruxelles Lagat set the Kenyan National Record and became the second fastest indvidual ever at 1500m when he ran 3:26.34. He was second in this race as well, behind Hicha el Guerrouj, in what was a failed attempt to break Guerrouj's own world record of 3:26.00. Lagat finished the year being ranked #2 in the world at 1500m.
Lagat spent most of 2002 and 2003 chasing Guerrouj. At the 2003 IAAF World Indooor Championships he earned the silver medal at 1500m, this time behind Driss Maazouzi of France. Lagat withdrew from the 2003 world outdoor championships after a false positive blood test showed traces of EPO in his system. His B sample test came back negative, clearing him of any charges. He was ranked 2nd and 4th in the world at 1500m in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
In the 3000m at the 2004 IAAF world indoor championships Lagat won his first international gold medal. Lagat was clearly overjoyed at his comeback since 2003. Throughout the spring he competed fiercely and beat his rival Guerrouj in Zurich with a world leading time at 1500m of 3:27.40. At the 2004 Summer Olympics Lagat seemed poised to once again defeat Guerrouj. The final was a very dramatic race, with Lagat and Guerrouj battling down the final 100m, swapping the lead multiple time. It was Guerrouj that prevailed, with Lagat close behind, earning the silver medal. He was however ranked #1 in the world at 1500m for the year.
In March, 2005, Lagat announced that he had become a naturalized citizen of the United States since May 7, 2004, despite competing for Kenya in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Since Kenya does not allow dual citizenship his silver medal in the 1500 m was at stake, but in the end he was allowed to retain it. Because of this switch of nationality, Lagat served a ban from international championship events. For this reason he missed the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki. A similar switch of nationality, in this case Kenyan to Danish, caused Wilson Kipketer to miss the 1996 Olympic Games. Today, Lagat lives in Tucson AZ and Tübingen (Germany), with his wife Gladys Tom (a Canadian of Chinese descent), whom he met while they both attended Washington State University, and their son Miika Kimutai (born in 2006) and their daughter Gianna (born 2008).
The U.S. does allow dual citizenship and consequently races run by Lagat after May 7, 2004 could have been ratified as American records, since USATF rules only state that an athlete has to be a U.S. citizen competing in a sanctioned competition to be eligible to set a national record. However, at the 2005 USATF annual meeting, his 3:27.40 win in the 1500 meters, on August 6, 2004, in Zurich, was not ratified as an American record.
Nevertheless, Lagat owns three American records from races he had run in 2005 that were ratified by USATF. His first American records came indoors, with a 3:49.89 mile at Fayetteville, Arkansas, on February 11, 2005, during which his 1500 meters split time of 3:33.34 also established another new U.S. record, en route to a win in the event. The performance replaced records by Steve Scott, who set the previous American indoor mile record of 3:51.8 in 1981, and the previous American 1500 meter indoor record held by Jeff Atkinson, who ran 3:38.12 in 1989. Lagat's winning time of 3:29.40 at Rieti, Italy, on August 28, 2005, in the outdoor 1500 meters was ratified as his third new American record, improving upon the old record of 3:29.77, set by Sydney Maree in 1985.
On February 6, 2010, Lagat set a new American record in his debut of the indoor 5000 meters at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games with a time of 13:11.50, beating previous record holder Galen Rupp who had set the record at 13:18.12 in 2009.
At the 2007 World Championships in Osaka Lagat surpassed all his previous achievements by becoming the first athlete to become world champion in both the 1,500 m and 5,000 m at the same IAAF World Outdoor Championships. Similar feats were accomplished by Hicham El Guerrouj at the 2004 Olympics and Paavo Nurmi at the 1924 Olympics.
In 2008, Lagat won both 1500 m and 5000 m runs at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, qualifying himself to compete with Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Hopes were high that his success in both these events would continue at the Olympics. However, Lagat failed to advance beyond the semi-finals in the 1500m run. He was more successful in the 5000 m run, winning his semi-final heat to advance, but ultimately did not medal, running to ninth place finish in the finals.
Lagat had concealed the fact that he was running with an injured Achilles tendon, a problem which hampered his training and contributed to his poor showing at the Olympics. He stated that his placings at the 2008 Beijing Games were " the biggest disappointment in my athletics career". The following season, he began with high altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona. After tying Eamonn Coghlan's record of seven wins in the Wanamaker Mile at the 2009 Millrose Games in New York, Lagat broke Coghlan's record with an 8th win at Millrose in 2010. As the reigning world champion in the 1500 and 5000 meters, he automatically received qualification in the events at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics and set his sights on retaining his titles. Despite being much older than some of his competitors, Lagat's desire to win had not faded and he said "I am more motivated than ever to go to the podium in Berlin". Lagat ultimately won the bronze medal in the 1500m and the silver medal in the 5000m.
Lagat's greatest achievement have come primarily in 1500 meter races, which have included:
|1999 Summer Universiade||1||x||Spain.||1999||x|
|2000 Sydney Olympics||3||3:32.44||Sydney.||2000||Noah Ngeny(1), Hicham El Guerrouj(2)|
|2001 World Championships||2||3:31.10||Edmonton, Canada.||2001||Hicham El Guerrouj(1)|
|2002 IAAF World Cup||1||3:31.20||Madrid, Spain.||2002||x|
|2002 African Championships||1||3:38.11||Tunis, Tunisia.||2002||x|
|2003 World Indoor||2||3:42.62||Birmingham, UK.||2003||x|
|2003 World Championships||DNS||DNS||Paris||2003||was suspended from competition|
|2004 World Indoor||1||7:56.34 (3000 m)||Budapest, Hungary.||2004||First international gold medal|
|2004 Athens Olympics||2||3:34.30||Athens, Greece.||2004||Hicham El Guerrouj(1)|
|2005 World Championships||x||x||Helsinki||2005||banned due to nationality switch|
|2006 US Championships||1||13:14.32 (5000 m)||Indianapolis||2006||(1 of 2)|
|2006 US Championships||1||3:39.29||Indianapolis||2006||(2 of 2)|
|2007 US Championships||1||13:30.73 (5000 m)||Indianapolis||2007||(1 of 2)|
|2007 US Championships||3||3:35.55||Indianapolis||2007||Alan Webb(1), Leonel Manzano(2)|
|2007 World Championships||1||3:34.77||Osaka||2007||First international outdoor gold medal|
|2007 World Championships||1||13:45.87 (5000 m)||Osaka||2007||2nd international outdoor gold medal|
|2008 U.S. Olympic Trials||1||13:27.47 (5000 m)||Eugene, Oregon||2008||Qualified for US Olympic team|
|2008 U.S. Olympic Trials||1||3:40.37||Eugene, Oregon||2008||Qualified for US Olympic team|
|2009 World Championships||3||3:36.20||Berlin, Germany.||2009||x|
|2009 World Championships||2||13:17.33 (5000 m)||Berlin, Germany.||2009||x|
|2010 Reebok Boston Indoor Games||1||13:11.50 (5000 m)||Boston, Massachusetts.||2010||Broke American indoor 5000m record|
|2010 World Indoor Championships||1||7:37.97 (3000 m)||Doha, Qatar.||2010||x|
|800 m||1:46.00||August 10, 2003||Berlin|
|1,000 m||2:16.27||August 7, 2007||Stockholm|
|1,500 m||3:26.34||August 24, 2001||Brussels|
|Mile||3:47.28||June 29, 2001||Rome|
|2,000 m||4:55.49||July 30, 1999||Stockholm|
|3,000 m||7:32.43i||February 19, 2007||Birmingham|
|5,000 m||12:59.22||July 28, 2006||London|
5k Indoors 13:11-American Record 3:49 Mile Indoors- American Record