Emma Coburn (born October 19, 1990) is an American middle distance runner who specializes in the 3000 meter steeplechase. She became the World Champion in London 2017 in the 3000 metres steeplechase with a time of 9.02.59, breaking her own American record. This made her the first American woman to win a gold medal in the steeplechase at either the World Championships or the Olympics. Previously she set an American record of 9:07.63 in the 3000 meter steeplechase to win a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. This also made her the first American woman to win any Olympic medal in that event. Her other achievements in the event include reaching the 2012 Olympic final (8th), and the World Championship finals in 2011 (10th) and 2015 (5th). She also won the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup. She is a 6-time (2011, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17) United States National Champion.
Coburn attended Crested Butte Community School. She finished second in the 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals Track and Field Championships 2000 meter steeplechase in 6:42.
While attending the University of Colorado, in 2010, Coburn won the Big 12 steeplechase title as a sophomore and finished second in the NCAA championships. In 2011, as a junior, she won both the Big 12 indoor 3000 meter title, and the Big 12 and NCAA outdoor title in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Coburn won the 2011 USA outdoor title in the steeplechase and made the US steeple team at the World Championships in 2011 finishing 12th in the final. During her senior year in cross country Coburn finished in 20th place over the six kilometer distance at the NCAA national cross country championships and was Colorado's 2nd place runner contributing to an 11th-place team finish. In her first steeplechase of the 2012 season Coburn became the fourth-fastest American in history and the fastest American on US soil with her time of 9:25.28. The time was a 12-second PR for Coburn, who redshirted the 2012 outdoor season at Colorado to focus on the Olympic Trials.
Coburn was named the Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Week on April 30, 2013 after recording the best 3,000 steeplechase time in the world for the season.
Coburn qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in the 3000 meter steeplechase, joined in the event by her University of Colorado teammate Shalaya Kipp. At age 21, Coburn was the youngest runner on the American team at the 2012 Olympics. In her Olympic heat, she placed third with a time of 9:27.51, automatically qualifying for the final. She came in 9th in the final, with a time of 9:23.54 - a then personal best.
In 2014, Coburn improved her 3000 m steeplechase best four times. At the Shanghai Diamond League meeting, she ran 9:19.81 before improving to 9:17.84 for third at Eugene and 9:19.72 to win her third US title in Sacramento. At the Paris Diamond League meeting she ran a 9:14.72 for a second-place finish. This moved her to second on the US all-time list behind Jenny Simpson. At the Diamond League meet in Glasgow, Scotland, she broke Simpson's American record of 9:12.51 by running 9:11.42 and finishing second in the race to Hiwot Ayalew.
In 2015, Coburn's indoor mile ranked 28th in the world. Coburn ran an Olympic qualifying time (1500m) of 4:05.1 in Eugene, Oregon at the Prefontaine meet in May. She won the steeplechase at the 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships to qualify for the 2015 World Championships in Athletics, where she placed fifth.
In 2016, Coburn opened her outdoor season running 4:06.92 in 1500 meters at Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic hosted at Occidental College. She set a new American record shortly thereafter at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field where she ran 9:10.76 in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Coburn broke the American record for a third time, earning bronze in 9:07.63 in the 2016 Olympic steeplechase and became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in the 3000 meters steeplechase. Coburn placed ninth in 4:23.8 at the 2016 Fifth Avenue Mile.
On December 2, 2016, Coburn announced on her Twitter account that she was leaving Coach Mark Wetmore after "an amazing 8 years". She moved coaches to her fiance, Joe Bosshard.
On May 5, 2017, Coburn opened her outdoor season at IAAF Diamond League 2017 Doha Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix racing the steeplechase in 9:14 to 5th place. She then took gold in the 2017 World Championships on August 11 in London. The latter made her the first American woman to win a gold medal in the steeplechase at either the World Championships or the Olympics. Courtney Frerichs won a silver medal at the same event, thus making Coburn and Frerichs the first Americans to win the gold and silver medal in any individual World Championships or Olympics race longer than 400 meters since the 1912 Stockholm Games.