Emma Coburn is an American middle-distance runner, who specializes in the 3000m steeplechase. She is a world champion, Olympic bronze medalist, and 10-time US National Champion in the steeplechase. At the 2017 World Championships in London, Emma Coburn made history by taking gold thereby becoming the first American since 1952 to win a world steeplechase title. At the event, she set a championship record of 9:02.58 min and broke her own American record by five seconds.

Emma Jane Coburn was born on October 19, 1990, in Boulder, Colorado, United States. At school, she was a multi-sport athlete competing in cross-country, volleyball, basketball, and athletics. She attended the University of Colorado from 2008-2013 where she was a three-time NCAA champion, capturing two steeplechase titles and one indoor mile title. She earned All-America honors six times.

Emma Coburn turned professional in 2013 after the completion of her collegiate career. However, during the season she had a sacral stress fracture that would cause her to miss the 2013 Moscow World Championships and missed the entire season.

Emma Coburn athlete

In 2014, Emma Coburn returned to the track and made a great performance at the Diamond League events in 3000m steeplechase, winning the gold at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, silver at the Glasgow British Athletics Grand Prix, and bronze at the Stockholm DN Galan and Eugene Prefontaine Classic. She also won the gold at the Golden League event Marrakesh IAAF Continental Cup and the Sacramento USA Championships.

She was in top form and won the competitions in 2015, defending her Eugene USA Championships title. Emma Coburn competed at the Beijing IAAF World Championships but remained only 5th. In the Diamond League, she won the bronze at the Lausanne Athletissima.

In 2016, she won the bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, as well as two bronze medals at the Diamond League – Eugene Prefontaine Classic and Zurich Weltklasse.

Emma Coburn steeplechase

Emma Coburn became a world champion in 2017, winning the gold in the 3000m steeplechase at the London IAAF World Championships in Athletics. She continues dominating on home soil, winning the Sacramento USA Championships. At the Diamond League, she remained without a medal at the five starts she competed.

In 2018, she won the gold at the Des Moines USA Championships and the silver at the Diamond League’s Oslo Bislett Games.

Emma Coburn won the silver at the Doha IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 2019. She also defended her USA Championships title and won the silver at the Diamond League events Prefontaine Classic.

The 2020 season was seriously disturbed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Emma Coburn competed mainly in untraditional events and distances. She won the bronze at the Under Armour Sunset Tour in Los Angeles at 800m, won the gold at the Team Boss Colorado Mile at one mile, and the silver at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix at two miles.

Emma Coburn running

In 2021, the athletics season returned to its traditional schedule. Emma Coburn qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but failed to win a medal. She competed at the Diamond League Meeting but remained only 5th.

Emma Coburn won the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships in 2022 and remained 8th at the Eugene World Athletics Championships. She competed also in the Diamond League events Prefontaine Classic, Herculis EBS, Memorial van Damme, and Weltklasse, but remained without a medal.

In 2023, Emma Coburn opened her 2023 season competing in the women’s mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, but finished only 7th. During the indoor season, she competed in the Mixed Relay in the 44th World Athletics Cross Country Championships but remained 5th. In the main discipline, the 3000m steeplechase, she started at the Doha Diamond League Meeting but remained 10th.

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