London, England – Reigning world champion Mariya Savinova of Russia won gold in the women's 800 meters Saturday at the London Games, while South Africa's Caster Semenya made a late charge for silver.
Savinova overtook Kenya's Pamela Jelimo, the defending Olympic champion, coming around the final turn and finished with a season-best time of 1 minute, 56.19 seconds. Semenya sat in the middle of the pack for much of the race, but used a late sprint to take silver, crossing the finish line 1.04 seconds after Savinova.
Russia's Ekaterina Poistogova grabbed bronze with a time of 1:57.53, while Jelimo was .06 seconds behind in fourth.
Semenya won the 800m at the 2009 World Championships, but was later subjected to gender testing to prove she was a woman. After that title in 2009, she was not allowed to compete again until July of 2010, when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) officially cleared her for competition.
Semenya also finished second to Savinova at last year's world championships and was trying to become the first South African woman to win gold in an Olympic track and field event.
Savinova is the second woman to win Olympic gold in this event as the reigning world champion. Sigrun Wodars of East Germany also completed that double with the title at the 1988 Seoul Games.
Alysia Johnson Montano of the U.S. finished fifth. The American was fourth at last year's world championships.