David Rudisha looks at each race as the next rung on a ladder, slowly climbing until the peak. This year, the peak is the Olympic Games in London, where Rudisha will look to win his first Olympic gold medal – the only major title that has eluded him so far.
But he has an important stop to make first. Kenya’s Rudisha, the World Record-holder and reigning World Champion at 800 meters, will make his United States debut at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9 at Icahn Stadium in New York.
“I’m very excited to come to New York for the first time and of course being that I’ve never competed there in my career it’s going to be something special for me,” Rudisha said.
Rudisha set the world record at 800 meters in 2010, clocking 1:41.01 and lowering a record he set a week earlier. Ever since Rudisha topped the historic mark set by Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11), thoughts of dipping under 1:40 have floated through the air.
“To run 1:40 is possible,” Rudisha said. “I’m planning still to do that because I still think I can go under 1:41. But I know it’s tough. Any world record is very hard to break it. Even if you want a world record it isn’t something easy you can get just like that.”
It takes planning, Rudisha said. And right now the Olympic favorite is focused on winning gold in London first, then making a run at another world record once that is accomplished.
In the meantime, each race, each step on the ladder, Rudisha is looking to improve. He already posted a time of 1:43.10 in his Diamond League opener in Doha. Rudisha hopes to lower that mark into the 1:42 range in New York. The fastest 800m ever run on U.S. soil was 1:42.58 by Vebjorn Rodal of Noway at the 1996 Olympic Games.
Rudisha hasn’t just made headlines for his dominance in the 800. He recently talked about the possibility of matching up against Usain Bolt in the 4x400-meter relay. It has been speculated that Bolt could run a leg for Jamaica on that relay in London. Rudisha said that he would love an opportunity to drop down to the 400 meters – after the 800-meter final is over, of course – for a chance at a huge showdown with the World’s Fastest Man.
“It would be crazy,” Rudisha said. “To have the world record-holder in the 800 and the world record-holder in the 100, 200 and 4x100 in the same race, it would be fun.”
Fun was also how Rudisha described the thought of him trying his hand at the marathon distance. Kipketer raced in the New York City Marathon last year.
“It’s quite interesting,” Rudisha said. “When you retire, you are free to do anything just for fun.”