Rupp wins bronze in Olympic marathon to give Team USA best medal count in 84 years
Provided by USATF
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL -- 2012 Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Galen Rupp (Portland, Oregon) went the distance at the Rio Olympic Games, winning bronze in the men’s marathon to become just the fifth American man to medal in the marathon this century. Rupp, who finished fifth last week in the 10,000m final, coasted through the closing steps of the Sambódromo to finish his second career marathon in 2:10:05.
Team USA finished action at the Rio Olympic Games with 32 medals, the most in a non-boycotted Olympic Games since 1932, when Americans won 35. Rupp’s bronze added another to the American distance medal tally, bringing to a close at seven, the fourth-most by a U.S. team in Olympic history.
The pace was honest early with a group of nearly 60 athletes breaking away within the first few miles. With 155 athletes total starting Sunday’s race, it was the largest men’s marathon in Olympic history, and jostling for position would take a backseat to energy conservation over the first 5 km.
The leaders came through 5 km in 15:32 with Rupp at the front of the pack and Meb Keflezighi (San Diego, California) and Jared Ward (Kaysville, Utah) bringing up the rear in 15:38. The group stayed intact over the next 10 km, with the leaders coming through 10 km at 31:10 and 15 km at 46:54.
Keflezighi briefly stopped just over the half marathon mark at 22 km and appeared to struggle over the next few kilometers, trying to get back in a rhythm and losing contact with the pack, as the leaders quickly put nearly :30 of space between the back of the pack and the 2004 Olympic silver medalist.
The leaders withered to nine at 25 km with Rupp at the front along with Kenyan trio Eliud Kipchoge, Leonard Korir, and Stanley Biwott. Ward, who had been just :03 behind the leaders, lost contact with the group and had a :17 gap to make up, a margin he would narrow over the closing stages of the race.
Dropping the hammer once again at 28 km, the pack continued to lose runners off the back until there were four remaining at 31 km: Kipchoge, Rupp, Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa and Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie. Running the next 5 km split in 15:03, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before the podium spots were solidified.
At 33 km, the group thinned to three with Kipchoge taking the lead. At the 35 km water station, Kipchoge and Lelisa picked up the pace and Rupp couldn’t surge with the duo, falling :10 behind the leaders. In the latter stages of the race, Kipchoge looked to Lelisa to carry some of the leading responsibilities, but Lelisa couldn’t charge ahead. Kipchoge pulled away from Lelisa and put nearly :20 in between himself and Rupp in the bronze medal position.
Coming through the line in front of Rupp, Kipchoge won his first Olympic marathon in 2:08:44, while Lelisa won silver in 2:09:54. Rupp bettered his marathon debut finish of 2:11:12 by crossing in 2:10:05.
Over the last 5 km, it was Ward’s turn to turn on the afterburners and the 2015 USARC champion picked off his competitors to go from 10th to sixth over the race’s final moments. Coming into the Sambódromo, Ward was all smiles, waving to fans and storming toward the finish. Ward ran a new personal best of 2:11:30 to solidify his spot among the world’s marathon elite. Rupp (3rd) and Ward (6th) gave the U.S. men their first pair of top-10 finishers in the marathon since 1976.
Keflezighi, as inspiring as always, turned a slip at a soggy finish line into a set of push-ups, much to the delight of the Sambódromo crowd. Keflezighi finished 33rd overall in 2:16:46 in his final Olympic marathon.
Re-live all of the action from the Rio Olympic Games by following USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #Rio2016. Fans can rewatch every second of the Rio Olympic Games on the NBC family of networks. All track & field action can be streamed on demand via the NBC Sports app and NBCOlympics.com.
TEAM USA MEDAL TABLE
Michelle Carter, Women’s SP, 20.63m/67-8.25 AR (8/12)
Jeffrey Henderson, Men’s LJ, 8.38m/27-6 (8/13)
Christian Taylor, Men’s TJ, 17.86m/58-7.25 (8/16)
Tianna Bartoletta, Women’s LJ, 7.17m/23-6.25 (8/17)
Brianna Rollins, Women’s 100m hurdles, 12.48 (8/17)
Kerron Clement, Men’s 400m hurdles, 47.73 (8/18)
Ryan Crouser, Men’s SP, 22.52m/73-10.75 OR (8/18)
Ashton Eaton, Men’s Decathlon, 8,893 pts. =OR (8/18)
Dalilah Muhammad, Women’s 400m hurdles, 53.13 (8/18)
Women’s 4x100m relay (Bartoletta, Felix, Gardner, Bowie), 41.01 (8/19)
Matthew Centrowitz, Men’s 1500m, 3:50.00 (8/20)
Women’s 4x400m relay (Okolo, Hastings, Francis, Felix), 3:19.06 (8/20)
Men’s 4x400m relay (Hall, McQuay, Roberts, Merritt), 2:57.30 (8/20)
Tori Bowie, Women’s 100m, 10.83 (8/13)
Justin Gatlin, Men’s 100m, 9.89 (8/14)
Allyson Felix, Women’s 400m, 49.51 (8/15)
Will Claye, Men’s TJ, 17.76m/58-3.25 (8/16)
Evan Jager, Men’s 3000m Steeple, 8:04.28 (8/17)
Brittney Reese, Women’s LJ, 7.15m/23-5.5 (8/17)
Nia Ali, Women’s 100m hurdles, 12.59 (8/17)
Joe Kovacs, Men’s SP, 21.78m/71-5.5 (8/18)
Sandi Morris, Women’s PV, 4.85m/15-11 (8/19)
Paul Chelimo, Men’s 5,000m, 13:03.80 (8/20)
LaShawn Merritt, Men’s 400m, 43.85 (8/14)
Emma Coburn, Women’s 3000m Steeple, 9:07.63 AR (8/15)
Clayton Murphy, Men’s 800m, 1:42.93 (8/15)
Sam Kendricks, Men’s PV, 5.85m/19-2.5 (8/15)
Jenny Simpson, Women’s 1500m, 4:10.53 (8/16)
Tori Bowie, Women’s 200m, 22.15 (8/17)
Kristi Castlin, Women’s 100m hurdles, 12.61 (8/17)
Ashley Spencer, Women’s 400m hurdles, 53.72 (8/18)
Galen Rupp, Men’s Marathon, 2:10:05 (8/21)