Josh Kerr storms to 1500m bronze to end 33-year wait

Josh Kerr won Team GB’s first men’s 1500m Olympic medal for 33 years as he smashed his personal best to take a brilliant bronze in an electrifying race at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. 

Team GB have plenty of history in the event, with their five golds more than any other nation and five of the nine podium places during the Olympic Games of the 1980s taken by Brits. 

It has been a long wait since those heady days of Coe, Ovett, Cram and Elliott but 23-year-old Scotsman Kerr joined their legion as he crossed the line third behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who clocked an Olympic record time, and Timothy Cheruiyot.

In a race run at a lightning pace, Kerr stormed past Kenya’s Abel Kipsang down the home straight and almost overhauled his compatriot Cheruiyot for silver, as his time of 3:29.05 knocked a mammoth 2.5 seconds off his personal best.

The 23-year-old said: "I'm blown away. This has been a hard Championships for me, the first run wasn't great, it was one of those days and you can have those. Sadly mine was the first round of the Olympics.

"I had to go back, think about it, recalibrate and come back to these next rounds fighting for every single step.

"I feel like you saw that today, you saw that in the semi-final and I'm really happy with that performance."

Kerr's time was also just 0.24s outside Mo Farah’s British record time over 1500m and the third-fastest metric mile run by a British man in history.

Kerr’s Olympics were almost over in the heats when he finished seventh in his race, only to scrape through as a fastest loser, and he has made the most of that chance to remarkably win Team GB’s sixth athletics medal of Tokyo 2020. 

Fellow Brits Jake Heyward and Jake Wightman were also in the final and finished ninth and tenth respectively. 

Kerr continued "I have this weird confidence in myself. Some may call it cockiness, some may call it general confidence.

"When you put the effort in and you're surrounded by a team like I am, you can't not feel confidence every step of the way.

"I'm so pleased I can give back to all those people who were able to sacrifice for me.

"When the first medal came back to our Team GB camp through Keely [Hodgkinson] there was a sense of enjoyment through someone else.

"I had to take that away and think, 'I want to create that for myself.'"