Crested Butte alum Emma Coburn captures bronze in steeplechase at Olympics

(Courtesy of Team USA)

Emma Coburn. (Courtesy of Team USA)

Crested Butte alum Emma Coburn won the bronze medal in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Olympics on Monday morning.

She is the first American to ever win a medal in the steeplechase, according to USA Track and Field.

Coburn finished in 9:07.63 at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, narrowly behind silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi (9:07.12) of Kenya. Bahrain's Ruth Jebet took the gold in 8:59.75.

Coburn's time shaved off more than three seconds from her previous personal best of 9:10.76. Her new time is also an American record.

The bronze medal is Coburn's best finish on an international stage. She competed in the steeplechase at the 2012 Games in London, finishing ninth. She was 12th at the 2011 World Championships, and fifth at the 2015 World Championships.

Coburn starred at the state meet in high school, winning the 1,600-meter race three times, the 800 meters twice, and the 3,200 meters once.

She graduated from Crested Butte in 2008, and then went on to become a national champion in the steeplechase at the University of Colorado.