In a 10,000m race that came down to a furious final 400m, Grant Fisher, 24, in his first Olympics, appeared like a seasoned pro.
On a sticky evening in Tokyo, Fisher tucked into the of the lead pack of the 25-runner field and stayed comfortable as they passed through halfway in 14:10, well under the pace of his 27:12 PR or even the 27:54 he ran in Eugene to make it to Tokyo. When the pace finally started heating up in the final mile, Fisher matched the turn-over of the seasoned international runners around him, world champion medalists and world-record holders.
One lap to go found him in the middle of a pack of nine runners ready to open it up. Ethiopian Selemon Barega, world championships 5,000m silver medalist, went to the lead, chased by world championships 5,000m bronze medalist Canadian Moh Ahmed, world championships 10,000m silver medalist Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, world half marathon champion Kenyan Jacob Kiplimo and world 10,000m champion and world record holder Kenyan Joshua Cheptegei — then Grant Fisher.
With the pace speeding up, Fisher first caught the tall Kejelcha, then passed Ahmed in the last 100m, ending up 5th in 27:46.39 behind Barega, Cheptegei, Kiplimo and Aregawi. Barega’s last lap was 53.92, Fisher’s 56.29.
Fisher’s Nike Bowerman Track Club teammate Woody Kincaid finished 15th, one place ahead of Joe Klecker of the On Athletics Club. Fisher and Kincaid are also entered in the 5,000m to come early next week — the first round is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 6 a.m. EDT.
Fans, friends and his college XC team celebrated:
— Jeff Hollobaugh (@michtrack) July 30, 2021
And the first person to make me yell at the TV award goes to @Phresh_Fish
— Kyle Merber (@TheRealMerb) July 30, 2021
Wow! @Phresh_Fish ! Grant Fisher '19 places fifth in the #Tokyo2020 10,000 final! In it until the end, Grant runs 27:46.39 and is the top finisher not from Ethiopia or Uganda. What a performance for the 24-year-old! #GoStanford pic.twitter.com/OVJV6yjx8z
— StanfordXCTF (@StanfordXCTF) July 30, 2021
We’ll update this story throughout the day as we get quotes and reactions.