David Torrence dreamed of running in the Olympics since he was a teenager. Four years ago, Torrence was so close he could taste it. After missing a chance to run the 1,500m in the London Olympics by a mere 1.02 seconds, Torrence’s Olympic dreams were relegated to a four-year hiatus.

But in 2016, despite being the No. 2 ranked U.S. runner in the 1,500m and the fourth-ranked runner in the 5,000m, Torrence didn’t race in the U.S. Olmypic Trials in Eugene. Instead, he competed in the Olympics for Peru—the country from which his mother’s side of the family hails—in the 5,000m. At the games, Torrence ran a 13:23.20 in the 5,000m final, setting a new Peruvian record.

Growing up in a Peruvian family and community, Torrence is very familiar with the culture and customs of Peru, and has visited there numerous times since he was a kid. “I carried the flag for Peru and it was a crazy honor to know how much they embraced me.”

We caught up with David to find out more about his heritage, Olympic experience and how he is inspiring young athletes and making an impact on running culture in a positive way.