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High Hopes For U.S. Distance Olympians

Can Team USA win more medals than it did in 2008?

Can Team USA win more medals than it did in 2008?

By: Ryan Lamppa, Running USA

London will host the Olympics for a record third time, and the 2012 U.S. Olympic distance team – led by two-time Olympic 1500 meter medalist Bernard Lagat, 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi and 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan  – is perhaps the deepest ever for the Games. The London team has plenty of veterans, including the above, such as past Olympians Abdi Abdirahman (fourth team), Dathan Ritzenhein (third team), Galen Rupp (second team),Ryan Hall (second), Kara Goucher (second), Matt Tegenkamp (second), Jenny Simpson (second), Andrew Wheating (second),Shannon Rowbury (second), Leo Manzano (second) and Lopez Lomong (second) and rising star and new U.S. steeplechase record holder Evan Jager.

RELATED: Olympic Games Track & Field Schedule

In Athens 2004, the Team USA won two Olympic Marathon medals – Keflezighi’s silver and Deena Kastor’s bronze, while in Beijing 2008, Flanagan earned a 10,000 meter bronze medal and U.S. record, and in London, it would be a surprise if the U.S. distance team didn’t win at least one medal as well as contend for several podium places.

The track & field competition – held in Olympic Stadium – starts on Friday, August 3 (the women’s 10,000 meters is the first track final) and ends Sunday, August 12 (the men’s marathon is the final event).

The following pages include the 2012 U.S. Olympic distance team from 1,500 meter through the marathon and event summary for the Summer Games hosted by London, Great Britain.

Men’s 1,500m

(3:35.50 / 3:38.00, Olympic “A” and “B” standards) – Final, Tuesday, August 7
Olympic Record (3:32.07), Noah Ngeny, Kenya, Sydney 2000
World Record (3:26.00), Hicham El Guerrouj, Morocco, 1998
U.S. Record (3:29.30), Bernard Lagat, 2005

Last American gold medal (Mel Sheppard, London 1908)
Last American medal (silver, Jim Ryun, Mexico City 1968)
TOTAL MEDALS = 13 (3 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze)

* Leonel Manzano (Austin, TX), 2012 Olympic Trials champion, two-time Olympic team member
* Matthew Centrowitz (Eugene, OR), 2011 World Championships 1500m bronze medalist
* Andrew Wheating (Eugene, OR), 2008 Olympian 800m

Men’s Steeplechase

(8:23.10 / 8:32.00) – Final, Sunday, August 5
Olympic Record (8:05.51), Julius Kariuki, Kenya, Seoul 1988
World Record (7:53.63), Saif Shaheen, Qatar, 2004
U.S. Record (8:06.81), Evan Jaeger, 2012

Last American gold medal (Horace Ashenfelter, Helsinki 1952)
Last American medal (bronze, Brian Diemer, Los Angeles 1984)
TOTAL MEDALS = 5 (1 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze)

* Evan Jager (Portland, OR), 2012 Olympic Trials champion; U.S. record holder (8:06.81 – 2012)
* Donn Cabral (Glastonbury, CT), 2012 NCAA steeplechase champion; Princeton grad
* Kyle Alcorn (Mesa, AZ), 2008 NCAA steeplechase champion

Men’s 5,000m

(13:21.50 / 13:28.00) – Final, Saturday, August 11
Olympic Record (12:57.82), Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, Beijing 2008
World Record (12:37.35), Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, 2004
U.S. Record (12:53.60), Bernard Lagat, 2011

Last American gold medal (Bob Schul, Tokyo 1964)
Last American medal (gold, Bob Schul, Tokyo 1964)
TOTAL MEDALS = 3 (1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze)

* Galen Rupp (Portland, OR), 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion
* Bernard Lagat (Tucson, AZ), 2007 World Champion 5000m; two-time 1500m Olympic medalist
* Lopez Lomong (Beaverton, OR), two-time Olympic team member

Men’s 10,000m

(27:45.00 / 28:05.00) – Final, Saturday, August 4
Olympic Record (27:01.17), Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, 2008
World Record (26:17.53), Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, 2005
U.S. Record (26:48.00), Galen Rupp, 2011

Last American gold medal (Billy Mills, Tokyo 1964)
Last American medal (gold, Billy Mills, Tokyo 1964)
TOTAL MEDALS = 2 (1 gold and 1 silver)

* Galen Rupp (Portland, OR), 2012 Olympic Trials champion; U.S record holder (26:48.00 – 2011)
* Matt Tegenkamp (Portland, OR), two-time Olympic team member
* Dathan Ritzenhein (Portland, OR), three-time Olympic team member

Men’s Marathon

(2:15:00 / 2:18:00) – Final, Sunday, August 12
8 mile loop, multi-turn course
Olympic Record (2:06:32), Sammy Wanjiru, Kenya, Beijing 2008
World Record (2:03:38), Patrick Makau, Kenya, 2011
U.S. Record (2:05:38), Khalid Khannouchi, 2002

Last American gold medal (Frank Shorter, Munich 1972)
Last American medal (silver, Meb Keflezighi, Athens 2004)
TOTAL MEDALS = 10 (3 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze)

* Meb Keflezighi (Mammoth Lakes, CA), 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist; three-time Olympic team member
* Ryan Hall (Flagstaff, AZ), fastest U.S. marathoner (2:04:58 – 2011); two-time Olympic team member
* Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, AZ), four-time Olympic team member

Women’s 1,500m

(4:06.00 / 4:08.90) – Final, Friday, August 10
Olympic Record (3:53.96), Paula Ivan, Romania, Seoul 1988
World Record (3:50.46), Yunxia Qu, China, 1993
U.S. Record (3:57.12), Mary Decker, 1983

Last American gold medal (not yet)
Last American medal (not yet, best U.S. finish, 7th by Shannon Rowbury, 4:03.58, Beijing 2008)

* Morgan Uceny (Mammoth Lakes, CA), 2012 Olympic Trials champion; #1 world-ranked 1500m in 2011
* Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco, CA), 2009 World Championships 1500m bronze medalist; two-time Olympic team member
* Jenny Simpson (Colorado Springs, CO), 2011 World Championships 1500m gold medalist; two-time Olympic team member

Women’s Steeplechase

(9:43.00 / 9:48.00) – Final, Monday, August 6
Olympic Record (8:58.81), Gulnara Samitova-Galkina, Russia, Beijing 2008
World Record (8:58.81), Gulnara Samitova-Galkina, Russia, Beijing 2008
U.S. Record (9:12.50), Jenny Barringer, 2009

Last American gold medal (not yet)
Last American medal (not yet, best U.S. finish 9th by Jenny Barringer, Beijing 2008)

* Emma Coburn (Crested Butte, CO), 2012 Olympic Trials champion; 2011 NCAA steeplechase champion
* Bridget Franek (Eugene, OR), 2010 NCAA steeplechase champion
* Shalaya Kipp (Salt Lake City, UT), 2012 NCAA steeplechase champion

Women’s 5,000m

(15:15.00 / 15:25.00) – Final, Friday, August 10
Olympic Record (14:40.79), Gabriela Szabo, Romania, Sydney 2000
World Record (14:11.15), Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia, 2008
U.S. Record (14:44.76), Molly Huddle, 2010

Last American gold medal (not yet)
Last American medal (not yet, best U.S. finish, 9th by Lynn Jennings ’96 and Kara Goucher ’08; in 3000m, Cindy Bremser 4th, ’84)

* Julie Culley (Clinton, NJ), 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion
* Molly Huddle (Providence, RI), U.S. 5000m record holder (14:44.76 – 2010)
* Kim Conley (West Sacramento, CA), third 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 5000m

Women’s 10,000m

(31:45.00 / 32:10.00) – Final, Friday, August 3
Olympic Record (29:54.66), Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia, Beijing 2008
World Record (29:31.78), Wang Junxia, China, 1993
U.S. Record (30:22.22), Shalane Flanagan, 2008

Last American gold medal (not yet)
Last American medal (bronze, Shalane Flanagan, Beijing 2008)
TOTAL MEDALS = 2 bronze

* Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, CA), 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion
* Lisa Uhl (Portland, OR), 2010 NCAA 10,000m champion
* Janet Bawcom (Rome, GA), third U.S. Olympic Trials; five-time USA road champion

Women’s Marathon

(2:37:00 / 2:43:00) – Final, Sunday, August 5
8 mile loop, multi-turn course
Olympic Record (2:23:14), Naoko Takahashi, Japan, Sydney 2000
World Record (2:15:25), Paula Radcliffe, Great Britain, 2003
U.S. Record (2:19:36), Deena Kastor, 2006

Last American gold medal (Joan Benoit, Los Angeles 1984)
Last American medal (bronze, Deena Kastor, Athens 2004)
TOTAL MEDALS = 2 (1 gold and 1 bronze)

* Shalane Flanagan (Portland, OR), 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials champion; 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist
* Desiree Davila (Rochester Hills, MI), 2011 Boston Marathon runner-up
* Kara Goucher (Portland, OR), 2008 Olympian 5000m / 10,000m; 2007 World Championships 10,000m bronze medalist