What an Olympics for US distance running.
Had you asked me before the Games, what’s more likely: The US winning zero medals from 800-Marathon, or winning 7 medals? I’d have bet the farm on the former, and I’d be out two farms.
Quick thoughts on all of the medal races.
Centro’s 1500m Gold
Holy. Shit. Absolutely incredible. The best tactical runner I’ve ever seen. Conversely, Kiprop might actually be the worst tactical runner on the entire planet. Centro is THE MAN.
Impressive that Mahkloufi was able to pull two silvers, I thought he was going to pass Centro FTW. Good for Willis getting Bronze too as this was probably his last chance for another Olympic medal.
Jager’s 3000m Steeplechase Silver
It was only a matter of time. For a guy who’s so consistently “up there” it was good to see things finally go right for him on the biggest stage. Sub 8 this summer hopefully. Sub 13:00 is probably doable too.
Poor Kemboi, a shitty way to lose a medal, but he’s still the best steepler ever. Conseslus and Birech will be fun to watch in the next decade.
Chelimo’s 5000m Silver
OUTTA FUCKIN’ NOWHERE! I actually thought he may steal it with 100m to go. Heart-breaking to see him told on live TV that he was disqualified, but great to see he was reinstated, rightfully so.
Realistically though… the dude closed in a 53 for a 13:04… Paul Chelimo could break the 5k American Record this summer if he gets in the right race.
Props to Lagat too. 13:06 at age 69? Amazing. Mo is making a case for greatest distance runner OF ALL TIME.
Coburn’s 3000m Steeplechase Bronze
Similar to Jager. Consistently “up there” but hasn’t quite been able to take that next step on these big stages. Ran a very smart race for bronze and it was great to see her re-break the AR. Silver would have been even better but all in all a great run in an event where we’ve been lacking.
Murphy’s 800m Bronze
Quite the rise to stardom for Clayton Murphy. I’m hesitant to anoint anyone the “future” of American Mid-D running (see Wheating), but Murphy, at age 21, is as promising as any we’ve seen.
As if Rudisha needed to cement his legacy anymore – the most dominant 800m ever. As for Mahkloufi… I kind of, sort of like him.
Simpson’s 1500m Bronze
She’s had success on the international stage before but never in the Olympics. Dare I say I actually felt bad for Shannon Rowbury? Those two have had a great rivalry, but I think this race puts Jenny firmly ahead. Would have LOVED it if she nipped Dibaba.
I tried to find a picture of Rowbury and Simpson together after the race but rumor has it they didn’t even speak to each other, classic.
Rupp’s Marathon Bronze
I’d argue Rupp is the best American distance runner of all time. Shorter has Olympic Gold(s), Ryun set World Records, but given Rupp’s range, consistency, PRs, international finishes, and duration, I believe he’s had the best cumulative career of any American EVER. If he runs 2:06 or below, then I don’t think it’s even a question. Centro has also somehow entered the conversation, but there’s still a lot to be seen from him.
Also, Jared Ward running a HUGE race for 6th. Great performance. Finally, love Eliud Kipchoge. The guy jogs 4:40s while a smile on his face every goddamn time. Best marathoner ever.