Jenny Simpson Makes History Earning U.S.A.’s First-Ever Medal in Women’s 1,500-Meter

Jenny Simpson just made history – not just for herself, but for the United States, too.

The distance runner earned bronze in the women’s 1,500-meter final Tuesday night at the Rio Olympics, with a time of 4:10.53. She’s the first U.S. runner to ever earn a medal in the event, and the plaudits soon started rolling in for her historic achievement.

(Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon took gold in the race and Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba took silver.)

Simpson, in her third Olympics, has said she’s relied on a special source of motivation throughout the competition: Her sister, Emily, who is a fire chief in the U.S. Army.

“My little sister gave me a little note and a gift before my first round today,” Simpson, 29, told the Des Moines Register on Friday, after qualifying for the 1,500-meter. “I have a mantra that I talk about a lot, about being brave. She said to ‘be brave is to move forward,’ so that was kind of my thought tonight, that today was all about moving forward. … Everything in my mind I pointed toward that one goal to keep moving forward.”

For more of PEOPLE’s Olympic coverage, pick up our collector’s edition,The Best of the Games, on sale now.

Road to Rio: Runner LaShawn Merritt Trains 24 Hours a Day

“Bravery is moving forward” Prerace advice from my baby sister. Well girl, we’re moving forward! Onto the semi on Sunday! #bebrave#teamusa

— Jenny Simpson (@trackjenny) August 13, 2016

#bebravoupic.twitter.com/8mgVcCvY7l

— Jenny Simpson (@trackjenny) August 13, 2016

The 1,500-meter isn’t Simpson’s only skill. According to NBC, she holds the American record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

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