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Wilson Kipketer, a Kenyan who was living in Denmark, was considered the favorite in the time leading up to the 1996 Games. But Kipketer was not a full citizen of Denmark and the Kenyan Olympic Committee protested his participation. The International Olympic Committee agreed and Kipketer was not allowed to compete at the 1996 Games.

Athletes from Kenya had won the previous 2 Olympic men's 800 meter events and were expected to be the favorites in the competition.

Vebjørn Rodal of Norway had never won an international event and was not considered to be a medal contender. But he won the gold medal in a time of 1:42.58 which is still an Olympic record. Four of the runners (Rodal, Hezekial Sepeng of South Africa, Fred Onyancha of Kenya, and Norberto Téllez of Cuba) finished the race in under 1:43 in what was one of the most exciting races of the 1996 Games. The time difference between 1st place and 4th place was .27 seconds.

The Olympic gold medal was Rodal's only international victory of his career.

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Q: Was Rodal expected to win the 800 meters in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics?
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