Make it two for two for the former Buffs seeking first-ever medals for Team USA over the past two days. One day after Emma Coburn claimed the first U.S. women’s medal (a bronze) in the steeplechase, Jenny Simpson matched Coburn’s effort, taking bronze in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:10.53. For Simpson, a three-time Olympian, the medal was a long time coming.

The Games in Rio mark Simpson’s third Olympic effort and her first medal. She previously medaled at the World Championships, earning silver in the 1,500 in Moscow in 2013 and gold in Daegu in 2011 in the same event.

Simpson finished behind gold medalist Kenya’s Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (4:08.92) and narrowly missed silver behind Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba (4:10.27). Simpson’s pace was more than five seconds slower than her semifinal pace, a race in which she finished fourth behind Dibaba and two others.

Olympic success was a long time coming for one of the most-decorated collegiate athletes in University of Colorado history.

While at the Colorado, Simpson won the 2006 NCAA Outdoor steeplechase championship. The following year, she won USATF Outdoor steeplechase championship in 9:34.64.

Simpson qualified for the first women’s steeplechase final in Olympic history (2008) by finishing third in her heat. She set a new American record of 9:22.26 in the final (a record Coburn set herself Monday), but placed ninth.

In 2009, Simpson set NCAA records in the mile, 3,000 meters, and 5,000 meters (indoors), 1,500 meters, 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000 meters (outdoors). She also topped her own American record in the Steeplechase at the 2009 World Championships, finishing 5th overall.


That same year, Simpson captured the Big 12 individual cross country title, running a 6-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 27.46 seconds, and won the Inaugural Bowerman Award, given to college track’s Athlete of the Year.

Running the 1,500 meters in London in 2012, Simpson failed to qualify for the finals.