|Meb Keflezighi streams the flag down the homestretch|
(photo: The Oregonian)
The word on the street, specifically from Meb Keflezighi's longtime coach, Bob Larsen, was that Meb had been injured and that he was under trained. With that knowledge available, no one gave much of a shot to the 2004 Athens Silver Medalist. And sadly, once Hall and Abdi dropped, I feared Meb may too. Luckily, that outcome was not in the cards.
Instead, Keflezighi slowed worked his was way up from 17th at the halfway mark to 14th at 25k to 10th at 30k to 6th at 35k, and finally, to 4th at the finish line. He was never in medal contention and finished 1:29 behind third placer, Kenya's Wilson Kipsang, but his run further validated his return to glory, after a disappointing 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials, one where he would break his leg and finish 8th, off the Beijing Olympic Team.
A job well done for the veteran. One of many inspiring performances from the American distance squad at the 2012 London Olympics.
Here are a few more of my favorite American Distance Moments of the 2012 games:
- Galen Rupp following his teammate, Mo Farah, to the promise land to earn a Silver Medal in the Men's 10,000 meters (story here).
- Leo Manzano kicking furiously over the last 100 meters of the Men's 1500 to take the Silver Medal, while Matt Centrowitz battled to within .04 seconds of the Bronze (story here).
- Duane Solomon (1:42.82) and Nick Symmonds (1:42.95) going 4,5 in the best 800 final of all time; one where David Rudisha would break the World Record (1:40.91).
- Shannon Rowbury's strong rally for 6th in the Women's 1500; the same race where Morgan Uceny's fall made every distance running fan in America feel sick to their stomach.
- Evan Jager finishing 6th and Donn Cabral 8th in the Men's 3000 meter Steeplechase. Strong runs by both in an event where the US hasn't done anything in a very long time.
- Emma Coburn's continued improvement in the Women's 3000 meter Steeplechase. Her 9th place finish would net her another PR (9:23.54).
- The Men's 5000. It's been a long while since the United States had three men in the final. All three held their own and a trip with 100 meters to go is the only thing that kept Bernard Lagat off the medal stand.
- All three American's setting PR's in the Women's 10,000. Being your best on the biggest stage is what the Olympics are all about!
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