LONDON – (August 12, 2012) – Eight years after his Olympic silver, Meb Keflezighi (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) returned to the Olympic Marathon
at the age of 37 to finish fourth in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 6
seconds under hot and humid conditions Sunday morning on the streets of
On a tour of London landmarks with huge crowds lining the multi-loop 8 mile course, Stephen Kiprotich,
23, of Uganda brought home his country’s first medal of the London
Games and only their third athletics medal all-time as he won gold in
2:08:01, the third fastest Olympic Marathon time ever. He was
followed by two-time world champion Abel Kirui in 2:08:27 and Wilson Kipsang in 2:09:37, both of Kenya.
It was an unfortunate day for Ryan Hall (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Abdi Abdirahman
(Tucson, Ariz.) who succumbed to injuries mid-way through the
race and stepped off the course around 18K. Hall withdrew after
the first large loop and moments later Abdirahman also called it
a day. Abdirahman ran with the lead pack for the first 5K before
fading to 29th at the 15K mark. Hall found himself running in
no-mans-land by the 10K split where he stood in 38th place
before fading back to 50th place at 15K.
The 26.2 mile race began to
develop in earnest at the 12K mark when Kipsang made a
decisive move to the front, and quickly developed a 16-second
lead over the chase pack. Kipsang held onto the lead for 14K
before Kirui and Kiprotich reeled him in.
With three runners chasing
the lead pack individually, Keflezighi was able to run with a
pack of eight men who were just two minutes behind the lead at
the 30K mark. Over the next 5K, Keflezighi increased his pace,
pulled away from the chase pack and set his sights on picking off the
lone athletes separating him from the podium. During the final
two miles of the race, Keflezighi passed both Marilson dos Santos of Brazil and Kentaro Nakamoto of Japan to secure his fourth place finish.
“Coming here I told my
wife, ‘I have a feeling I’m going to finish fourth.’ Did I want
to finish fourth – no. But at the World or Olympic Games I’ll
take it, especially considering that I did not make the
Olympics [in 2008]. In 2004, to be a silver medalist, I know
how that feels, so I congratulate those people who finished first,
second and third.
Everybody works hard to
accomplish such a thing and I am very proud of myself and our
country to finish fourth. It’s not where you want to be
sometimes, but fourth place at my last Olympics – I’ll take it anytime,”
said Keflezighi, a three-time Olympian.
Keflezighi’s performance is
the best place by an American since his 2004 silver medal in
2:11:29 and the second fastest Olympic Marathon time by an
American behind Frank Shorter‘s 2:10:46 silver medal performance at Montreal 1976.
London, GBR, Sunday, August 12, 2012
1) Stephen Kiprotich (UGA), 2:08:01, Gold
2) Abel Kirui (KEN), 2:08:27, Silver
3) Wilson Kipsang (KEN), 2:09:37, Bronze
4) Meb Keflezighi (USA), 2:11:06
5) Marilson dos Santos (BRA), 2:11:10
6) Kentaro Nakamoto (JPN), 2:11:16
7) Cuthbert Nyasango (ZIM), 2:12:08
8) Paulo Roberto Paula (BRA), 2:12:17
9) Henryk Szost (POL), 2:12:28
10) Ruggero Pertile (ITA), 2:12:45
Abdi Abdirahman (USA), DNF – injury
Ryan Hall (USA), DNF – injury
Full results and more at: www.iaaf.org/mini/oly12/Results/ResultsByDate.aspx