Home | Contact Us | IAAF World Championships | U.S. Track & Field | Community News, Features & Profiles | Links | About Steve

US CHAMPIONSHIPS: NBC Sports Disappoints on Day 4
US CHAMPIONSHIPS: Coverage of Field Events Improves on Day 3
US CHAMPIONSHIPS: Day Two Coverage Review
US CHAMPIONSHIPS: NBC Sports Gold Coverage of US Championships
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Huddle Gets the Double at the Olympic Trials
OLYMPIC TIRALS - Coach Gags Last Go-round at the Trials
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Favorites Survive Semis in 1500
Olympic Hopefuls Turn to New Ways of Fundraising for Support
OLYMPIC TRIALS - A Short Day for Orji in the Triple Jump
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Merritt Ready for Double after Impressive 400 Win
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Trials Race Walk Ends in Disappointment for Gray
OLYMPIC TRIALS - 20K Race Walk Takes Center Stage on June 30 in Salem
PRE CLASSIC - Flawless Harrison Leaves Hayward with an American Record
PRE CLASSIC - Prefontaine Field Events Follow Form Chart

Galen Rupp and the long American medal drought
By Steve Ritchie / Special to the Statesman Journal
June 22, 2012

Galen Rupp at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field, the University of Oregon

Eugene, OR - No American man has medaled in the 10,000 meters at the Olympic Games since Billy Mills, a complete unknown at the time, pulled off a huge upset to win gold at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. To help you do the math, that is 48 years ago.

But hope springs eternal. Former University of Oregon national champion Galen Rupp, who is the current American 10,000 record holder, would like to change that history of futility by bringing home a medal in the event. Working with long-time coach Alberto Salazar, Rupp has improved every year, and is gradually closing the gap on the top African-born runners who have ruled the event for several decades.

Friday night, running in a steady rain for much of the race, Rupp took
another step toward his goal of bringing home an Olympic medal in the 10,000, winning in a new Trials record of 27:25.33. Coming down the homestretch, with victory in his grasp, Rupp smiled and waved to the crowd. His relaxed expression showed that winning the grueling 25-lap race over the top American runners didn't tax him that much.

Rupp and Nike Oregon teammate Dathan Ritzenhein came into the race with a plan to work together over the first half of the race and set a pace fast enough to allow Ritzenhein to run under the Olympic A Standard of 27:45. Ritzenhein had not met the standard and so needed to both finish in the top three and run a time faster than the standard in order to secure his trip to London.

After the first six laps, Rupp took over the lead and set the pace, running pretty close to 67 seconds per lap. Every two or three laps, Ritzenhein would take over the lead and keep the pace steady. Eventually, Rupp and Ritzenhein, joined by Oregon Track Club Portland runner Matt Tegenkamp, had opened up a lead on the field.

While the top three runners looked secure in their spots over the last few laps, the question remained who would win. With 1200 meters to go, Rupp answered that question by running a 62 second lap, followed by a 63 and then another 63 on his last lap, allowing him the luxury of a big smile and a wave over the last 50 meters. Tegenkamp and Ritzenhein followed in second and third, respectively, and both got the needed time.

"I was really happy with the way the race went," Rupp said later. "I had a goal of winning the race and it worked out."

I wasn't worried about the rain at all. I'm from Oregon and I love running in this weather. It's good for my allergies so I was excited about the rain."

Rupp is also running the 5,000 meters here at the Trials, beginning with a preliminary round on Monday evening. He said that now his focus would be on "rest and recovery" to prepare for that race.

But, it is clear that Rupp's best chance to make history for American distance runners at the Olympics is in the 10,000 meters. His American record of 26:48 ranks him high enough on the world list to warrant medal consideration, and being able to train with Mo Farah of Great Britain, who will go into the Games as the favorite in the 10,000, has to help. Not to mention having Alberto Salazar as his coach. Whether he medals or not, Rupp already has a special status among American distance runners. He has taken on the African runners and had some competitive success, even at a relatively young age of 26. In the last world championship 10,000, Rupp was with the top group until almost the last lap of the race.

In the enthusiastic Hayward Field crowd on Friday evening were brothers Leonel and Noe Jines of Mt. Angel. Leonel, 19, just finished his freshman year in college and hopes to walk on for cross country and track next year at Western Oregon. Noe, 13, is going into the 8th grade at Mt. Angel Middle School.

Inspired by Leonel's example, Noe hopes to one day run for a division one college and has become a student of the sport. Before the race, he predicted, "I think Galen Rupp will take it. It will be a tactical race
but it won't be that close at the end."

Afterwards, he said that watching Rupp's tactics and skill was "really encouraging. I like it that Rupp goes out and runs his own race."

His brother seconded the thought, adding "He tells us that it's not just the Africans that can run distance races fast."

Both Jines brothers believe that Rupp can win a medal at London."Maybe not gold," said Noe. "But he can win a medal." 48 years is a long time, but Rupp is starting to convince track fans everywhere that he can be the one to end the long drought.


Featured archived articles:
Nick Symmonds Takes 6th Place in Berlin 800 Final

Nick Symmonds was in perfect position with 100 meters to go in Sunday's 800 meter final at the World Track & Field Championships... (more)

Mt. Angel Woman Helps Keep Olympic Hopefuls On Track in Eugene

What does it take to be an
Olympic athlete? For most
athletes who reach that elite
level, it takes years ...

More Women Running - Going the Distance

No one participating in or
cheering on runners at the
Homer's Classic 8K on August
8, will be surprised that there are women running in the ...

Ian Dobson Races to Third Place at Trials and Makes U.S. Olympic Team

Pacific University Library Director Marita Kunkel was in the stands
at Hayward Field in Eugene last Monday night... (more)

Nick Symmonds Advances to 800 Final at World Championships

A major deluge hit Olympic Stadium in Berlin an hour before Nick Symmonds was scheduled to run his semi-fina... (more)

©2017 • All Rights Reserved • No part of this site may be reproduced without express written permission. Web design by IrishLemons.com

create counter