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BY DAVE HUNTER—Throughout his track career, Clayton Murphy has been misjudged, underestimated, and frankly unappreciated. Despite truly remarkable progression in both the 800m and the 1500m/mile during his three years as a collegian, Murphy's sparkling performances have never seemed to stimulate much excitement within our sport. That should all change now that the 21-year old ran a patient and exquisite race in the Olympic 800m final - capturing the bronze medal after a stirring stretch drive and crossing the line in 1:42.93 to become the first American medalist in the Olympic 800m since American record holder Johnny Gray grabbed the bronze in 1992. Murphy's clocking now positions him as the #3 performer [Gray and Duane Solomon] on the USA all-time list and the #31 performer on the all-time world list.
Published in Track & Field
BY LARRY EDER—In 2012, at the London Olympics, Galen Rupp took the silver medal in the 10,000 meters behind his team mate Mo Farah, who won his first Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters in London's Olympic stadium, in front of 80,000 screaming and boisterous fans.
 
I was surprised a bit by Galen Rupp's silver medal then. I thought Galen would win Olympic medals, but not until 2016. I was pleasantly surprised.
 
In 2016, Galen Rupp took fifth in the 10,000 meters, and then, bronze in the marathon, only his second race over the distance. I wanted to make the point about Galen nearly stopping to make sure Mo Farah was fine in the 10,000 meters, when Mo fell in the race early on. That was what someone does who really cares about a training partner. Those 'miles of trials and trials of miles' (as John Parker said in Once a Runner) are lifelong ties.
Published in Marathons
BY LARRY EDER—It's Saturday morning, August 20, and I am sitting on my bed in my little AirBnB, right across the street from the Engenhao Stadium. With my brother, Brian, and Victor Sailer, I have been here for the duration. This morning, I'm catching up.
 
So, this is my piece on the women's 400 meters, one of the finest races of the entire Olympic experience, which was marred, for me, by Americans thinking that somehow, the gold medal was taken from Allyson Felix. Shaunae Miller took the gold, because, this time, she got across the finish line first. That is what it is like in all races. Olympic track & field is not a theatre project, where one knows the outcome and it is the interpretation of the experience. It is not professional wrestling, where the outcome is preordained. These are real athletes, who put their regular lives on hold, so that, for a decade or so of their lives, they, run, jump and throw to see just how far they can go!
Published in Track & Field
Updated 9.15 PM, August 17, 2016. Ezekial Kemboi has been DQed over rule 163.3.
 
BY LARRY EDER—In a brilliant and gutty run, Evan Jager took over the steeple final at three minutes and twenty seconds into the race, broke the race open, stayed calm and collected and caught Ezekial Kemboi on the final straight, to bring the US a silver medal, the highest men's US finish since 1952 and the first men's steeple medal since 1984! Conseslus Kipruto won the steeplechase, with Ezekial Kemboi, Olympic champion from 2004 and 2012, taking the bronze.
 
This race was the work of a team. Under the thoughtful eyes of Coaches Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert, the Bowerman AC team were prepared. Schumacher and Dobert honed the skills of Jager over the barriers and the flats.
Published in Track & Field
BY LARRY EDER—Earlene Brown, a USA Track & Field Hall of Famer, who won the last medal by the U.S. in the women's shot put. That was in 1960, and the color of the medal was bronze. I remember writing about Earlene in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when I wrote about Ramona Pagel and Connie Price-Smith. I was fascinated with Earlene Brown as she competed against the Press sisters of the old Soviet Union. A colorful lady, Earlene was a gifted athlete. But, as a women athlete in her day, Earlene Brown never got the respect she deserved. I love that she competed in roller derby, one of my favorite TV viewing pleasures as a kid in Saint Louis.
 
Well, the ghost of Earlene Brown shone brightly in Rio, watching over Michelle Carter, who just improved nearly all night, starting out at 19.12m, then, 19.82m, then, 19.44m, then, 19.87m, then, bammo! 20.63m.
Published in Track & Field
BY LARRY EDER—Almaz Ayana has just destroyed the World Record in the 10,000 meters, running 29:17.45 to take over 14 seconds off the World Record set by Wang Junxia of China nearly 23 years ago! Ayana stayed in the lead pack for 5000 meters, and then, rushed for home, chased by Vivan Cheruiyot. Ayana's style of light running, with a gifted stride took her lead from four seconds to fourteen, as Vivian Cheruiyot guttily held on for the silver medal. Tirunesh Dibaba, the 2008 and 2012 champion, took third from Alice Nawowuna, who lead for the first five kilometers. Here is how I saw the race transpire:
Published in Track & Field