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Colorado's Emma Coburn disqualified from steeplechase final, US teammate wins silver

Courtney Frerichs finished in second place behind Peruth Chemutai of Uganda.

TOKYO, Japan — America’s preeminent steeplechaser for the past decade flamed out at the Olympics in a final that was as stunning for her as it was thrilling for her teammate, second-place finisher Courtney Frerichs. 

Frerichs finished in 9:04.79, behind Uganda's Peruth Chemutai. 

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Emma Coburn crossed the line in 14th place but then found out she'd been disqualified because she stepped off the track after a last-lap stumble over the barrier. 

It didn’t matter all that much. It was way too late to salvage anything by that time. 

Coburn said she took no solace in simply finishing the race and was disappointed in herself. She had been favored to win a medal, and says she can't figure out what went wrong.

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Coburn won a bronze medal in the event in 2016 in Rio. She was the first American to win a medal in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Now Frerichs is the second. 

Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya won the bronze. 

> Watch highlights of the race here.

The steeplechase consists of 7.5 laps around the track for 3,000 meters. There are four 30-inch barriers that runners have to jump over throughout the track and then one water pit. 

The first half of a lap is just a casual run, and the hurdles begin with seven laps to go. When runners reach the water, they fly through the air and attempt to clear the 10-foot water pit and land on the other side. 

They keep running over the hurdles before crossing the water again, for a total of seven laps of this obstacle course. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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