If you wanted to catch Elle Purrier St. Pierre's Olympic semifinal, you had to be up early on Wednesday morning. The first heat of the women's 1500m semifinal began at 6:00 EST, and while most viewers were brewing an early cup of coffee, Franklin County's Olympian was warming up for one of the biggest races of her career.
Five women from each heat advanced to the final, with only two open spots available.
Purrier St. Pierre raced in the first heat with teammate Corey McGee (USA) and world-leading competitors Faith Kipyeagon, Winny Chebet (Kenya). and Gabriela Debues-Stafford (Canada).
Early in the race, Purrier St. Pierre chose to go wide; McGee and Chebet took a fall in the race, ending their chances to compete in the final. Purrier St. Pierre crossed the line in sixth place with a time of 4:01. Kipyeagon won the heat with a time of 3:56. Purrier had to wait out the second heat to find out if she'd get one of the two extra spots available in the final.
In the second heat, Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) and Laura Muir (Great Britain) were the ones to watch in heat two. Hassan and Muir crossed in 4 minutes. Thanks to the pace of the second heat, Purrier St. Pierre earned the opportunity to race in the final on Friday at 8:30, finishing in the eighth place overall and qualifying on time.