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Emma Coburn

Emma CoburnEmma Coburn was born on October 19th 1990 in Boulder, Colorado.

She is an American middle-distance runner who is a specialist in the 3000 meter steeplechase event in which she has won the Gold medal at the 2017 World Championships, the Silver medal at the 2019 World Championships, and the Bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In the same event, representing the Americas, she had won the Gold medal at the 2014 Marrakech IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Continental Cup.

Coburn has also won the United States National Championship on multiple occasions - in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. She dominating the event throughout the 2010s.

She had attended the Crested Butte Community School, a K-12 school in Crested Butte, Colorado.

After her high school graduation in 2008, she had joined the University of Colorado Boulder - a public research university in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. She had graduated from CU in 2013 with a degree in marketing.

Emma CoburnHer parents are Bill Coburn and Annie Coburn. She has two brothers Joe and Willy Coburn and a sister, Gracie Coburn Willette.

Emma married her coach, Joe Bosshard, in a ceremony in Hawaii in October of 2017.

When Emma had qualified for the 2012 Olympics, in the 3000 meters steeplechase event, she was just 21 years old and the youngest runner in the American contingent.

She had placed 3rd in her heat and had qualified for the final where she had finished a creditable 8th with a personal best time of 9:23.54.

During 2014, she had improved her personal best time on 4 different occasions – to 9:19.81 at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting, to 9:17.84 at The Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, to 9:14.72 at the Paris Diamond League meet, before breaking the American record by clocking 9:11.42 at the Diamond League meet in Glasgow, Scotland.

When she won the Bronze medal in the 3000 meters steeplechase event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, she had become the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in that event.

She had also set a new American record in Rio with a time of 9:07.63.

Emma CoburnWhen she won the Gold medal in the 3000 meter steeplechase event at the 2017 World Championships, she had become the first American woman to win a steeplechase Gold medal at either the World Championships or the Olympics.

She had also broken her own American record with a time of 9:02.58.

At the same event, Courtney Frerichs had won the Silver medal. This had made Emma and Courtney the first American pair to win the Gold and Silver double at any individual World Championships or Olympics race longer than 400 meters since the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games.

On July 7th Emma Coburn won the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase final during Day 7 of the Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

She left longtime coach Mark Wetmore not long after the Olympic Games in Rio. Coburn hasn’t revealed the reasons for her break with Wetmore, the CU coach who continued to coach her after she turned pro in 2013, but she clearly is at peace under new coach Joe Bosshard’s direction.

Joe Bosshard not only has become her coach, he and Emma were married in Hawaii in October of 2017.

Emma CoburnBosshard is new to coaching, but so far things are going just fine. Last month at the Prefontaine Classic, Coburn came within a fraction of a second of her personal best (9:07.63), which she clocked at the Rio Games to break her own American record.

On Saturday she was favored to win her sixth U.S. Outdoor Championships title and qualify for the biennial world championships in London this summer.

“Joe is doing a great job,” Coburn said. “He knows exactly what motivates me, how to read me better than I can even read myself."

"And he’s really a student of the sport. I feel like he is well-educated and, though he never had the success I did, he’s a six-time All American. He’s been through the ringer himself in running.”

Bosshard learned a lot about coaching from Wetmore and also from Sanderson, who has been integral in the development of phenomena Brie Oakley.

A standout at Grandview High School where she became one of America’s top prep runners, Oakley will run for the University of California this fall.

Bosshard said he wouldn’t have agreed to coach Coburn if he wasn’t sure he was capable.

Emma Coburn“I’ve watched her since she was a no-name, small mountain town runner doing four sports, and every step of the way until she was a bronze medalist at the Olympics,” Bosshard said.

“I’ve seen the progression, I know her workouts from years before, I know what has really suited her well and more importantly maybe, things that haven’t suited her very well.”

“If Joe says, ‘You can go and run this (time),’ I just truly believe him and trust him,” Coburn said.

“If he’s telling me I’m ready, I love him so much and trust him so much, that alone gives me the emotional boost.”

Bosshard concedes some in the sport “might think we’re kind of crazy to do this,” but it seemed to him and Coburn like the next logical step in their relationship.

“Her livelihood to some extent is in my hands,” Bosshard said. “She’s had the best coaches in the world the last seven years.

"There’s nothing I’m doing that’s special; this is just the culmination of all the work she’s put in. My goal was just to create a new environment for her to maybe give her a new stimulus and not try to reinvent the wheel. "

"She’s healthy and happy and that makes for a good runner.”

Emma CoburnBosshard and Coburn first met as teenagers when their coach took them to the Florida State Relays.

Emma Coburn was a raw talent from Crested Butte who knew nothing about track and field, because running to her meant floating like a deer over mountain trails.

Joe Bosshard was a kid from Wisconsin in the process of moving to Crested Butte to be coached by the man who was coaching her, Trent Sanderson.

They quickly became close friends, even though the adament Broncos fan in her loved to torment him for being a Packers “Cheesehead,” they started dating their senior year of high school.

That was after he told her he was going to run at the University of Kentucky instead of joining her at Colorado.

“I just started bawling,” Coburn recalled last week. “I was like, ‘OK, maybe I like you more than a friend.’ Luckily he changed his mind and went to CU.”

They have been inseparable ever since, so it surprised no one when they got engaged last November.

Emma CoburnOn January 10th, 2017 Von Miller, Emma Coburn, Jenny Simpson and Mike MacIntyre were honored by Colorado Sports.

Courtney Frerichs took possession of the American record back in July 2018 with a 9:00.85 at the Monaco Diamond League. That race is the only head-to-head victory Frerichs has ever recorded over Coburn.

In this years qualifiers Frerichs attempted to make a move for the win on Thursday and took the lead by the fifth lap, but Coburn took it back with two laps remaining.

Around the same point, Leah Falland, a former NCAA champion out of Michigan State, attempted to attach herself to the breakaway pack but fell over the hurdle.

She rolled on the ground for a second before a battle for the final Olympic team spot ensued with Val Constien.

Constien entered Thursday night’s final with a personal best of 9:25, which was the third-best of the field heading into the Trials.

Her coach Heather Burroughs told her that a five-second improvement may be enough to land on the team.

Emma CoburnCoburn and Frerichs finished well clear of the rest of the pack and each secured their spots to Tokyo.

Constien had a better clearance over the final water barrier and ended Falland’s Olympic dreams.

A 9:18.34 personal best for Constien provided a little extra for her coach and a berth to her first Olympics.

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Competition Record

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the United States
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 8th 3000 m steeplechase 9:51.40
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 8th 3000 m steeplechase 9:23.54
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 5th 3000 m steeplechase 9:21.78
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 3rd 3000 m steeplechase 9:07.63
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:02.58
2019 World Championships Doha, Qatar 2nd 3000 m steeplechase 9:02.35
2021 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 3000 m steeplechase

USA National Championships

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:44.11
2012 US Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:32.78
2014 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Sacramento, California 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:19.72
2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:15.59
2016 US Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:17.48
2017 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Sacramento, California 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:20.28
2018 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Albuquerque, New Mexico 3rd 3000 m 9:01.85
2018 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Des Moines, Iowa 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:17.70
2019 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Des Moines, Iowa 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:25.63
2021 US Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 1st 3000 m steeplechase 9:09.41

Personal Bests

Surface Event Time Date Location
Outdoor Track 1500 m 4:04.40 August 10, 2019 Memphis, Tennessee
Mile 4:31.08 September 5, 2018 Bay Shore, New York
3000 m 8:48.60 August 20, 2017 Birmingham
2000 m steeplechase 6:44.42 June 19, 2008 Greensboro, North Carolina
3000 m steeplechase 9:02.35 September 30, 2019 Doha, Qatar
Indoor Track 1500 m 4:12.31 February 16, 2013 New York, New York
Mile 4:29.86 February 16, 2013 New York, New York
2000 m 5:41.11 February 7, 2015 Boston, Massachusetts
3000 m 8:41.16 February 3, 2018 New York, New York
Road Mile 4:20.3 September 9, 2018 New York, New York

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