– Team USA’s Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor, Anna Willard
and Jenny Barringer are a few of the standout women’s middle and long
distance runners to watch for at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Included in the middle- and long-distance crew are five Olympians, one Olympic medalist and three American record holders.
Olympian and Olympic Trials champion Hazel Clark (Knoxville, Tenn.)
will be looking for a spot on the medal stand, having finished seventh
at the 2000 Olympic Games. Clark currently holds the top U.S. time in
the 800m at 1:59.82, which she first ran at the Ponce Grand Prix in May
and repeated at the Olympic Trials in June.
Trials runner-up and 2006 USA Indoor champion Alice Schmidt (Chula
Vista, Calif.) will be making Olympic debut after finishing second at
the Olympic Trials in 2:00.46. Schmidt has the second-fastest U.S. 800m
time this year of 2:00.01, which earned her a second place finish at
the Nike Prefontaine Classic in June.
Olympian Nicole Teter (Eugene, Ore.) gained a spot on the Olympic Team
after third-place finisher Kameisha Bennett did not meet the Olympic
“A” standard. Teter, who finished fourth at the Trials, was the 2002
USA Outdoor champion and is the American record holder indoors.
Trials champion and U.S. Indoor champion Shannon Rowbury (San
Francisco) joins her first Olympic roster a year after graduating from
Duke University. Rowbury has the fastest 1,500m time in the U.S. and
the fourth fastest time in the world this year of 4 minutes 0.33
seconds, which she posted at the Paris Grand Prix in mid-July. For a
time earlier this season, Rowbury held the fastest mark in the world
for the year of 4:01.06, which she ran at the adidas Track Classic in
May. She entered the Olympic Trials as the favorite and despite adverse
wind conditions posted a time of 4:05.48. While at Duke, Rowbury was
the 2007 NCAA Indoor mile champion and 3,000m runner-up, but was not
able to compete during the 2007 outdoor season due to a stress
Olympic Trials runner-up and four-time
NCAA All-American Erin Donohue (Haddonfield, N.J.) will join Rowbury
the 1,500 after posting a time of 4:08.20 at the Trials. U.S. Indoor
champion Christin Wurth-Thomas (Springdale, Ark.) will round out the
ladies 1,500m runners. Wurth-Thomas won the 1,500m at the 2005 Nike
Prefontaine Classic, and she posted a personal best in 2006 of 4:05.00.
Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.) will compete in both events in which she
holds the American record, the 5,000 and 10,000m. In the first final of
the Olympic Trials, she won the 10,000m in 31:34.81, a Hayward Field
record. She was third in the 5,000. Flanagan holds the American record
in the 10,000m with her time of 30:34.49, which she ran in May at the
Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, and in the 5,000 with her time of
14:44.80 from the 2007 Mt. SAC Relays 2007.
Trials 5,000m champion and 10,000m runner-up Kara Goucher (Portland,
Ore.) also will represent the United States in both events. At the 2007
World Outdoor Championships, Goucher proved herself competitive on an
international stage, winning the 10,000m bronze medal in 32:2.05.
Trials 5,000m runner-up Jennifer Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) will
compete in her third different event in her third go-round at the
Olympic Games. She ran the marathon at the 2004 Olympic Games and the
10,000m at the 2000 Olympics. Rhines, who is focusing on shorter
distances since the 2004 Olympics, set personal records in the 5,000m
and 10,000m in 2007 (4:09.52, 31:17.31) and currently has the fastest
American 5,000m this year of 14:54.29, which she set at the Oslo Grand
Prix in June.
Amy Yoder Begley (Beaverton, Ore.)
will participate in her first Olympic Games after fighting tooth and
nail for the Olympic “A” standard at the Olympic Trials. Yoder Begley,
who lacked the standard coming into the Trials, finished third in
31:43.60, making the “A” standard with just over a second to spare and
setting a new personal record.
bronze medalist Deena Kastor (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) has had the most
success of any current U.S. distance runner in international
competition. The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon, she
holds the American record with her time of 2:19:36, run en route to
winning the 2006 London Flora marathon. She is a two-time silver
medalist at the World Cross Country Championships.
Olympic Trials – Women’s Marathon runner-up Magdalena Lewy Boulet
(Oakland Calif.) will be making her first appearance at the Olympic
Games. Sworn in as a U.S. citizen on September 1, 2001, Lewy Boulet set
a personal record at the Trials with her finish of 2:30:19. Blake
Russell (Pacific Grove, Calif.) made her first Olympic Team after
finishing a heartbreaking fourth at the 2004 Olympic Trials. She fought
of pain and fatigue to hold the third place position and claim the spot
she was denied four years earlier.
3,000 Meter Steeplechase
women’s steeple is being contested for the first time at the Olympic
Games. Olympic Trials champion Anna Willard (Ann Arbor, Mich.) broke
the American record with her performance of 9 minutes 27.59 seconds at
the Trials, since bettered by Jenny Barringer.
Anderson (Ogden, Utah) made waves with her second-place finish at the
Trials as she improved her personal best by more than nine seconds
American Record holder and University
of Colorado senior Jenny Barringer (Boulder, Colo.) finished third at
the Olympic Trials but broke Anna Willard’s previous AR by nearly five
seconds at Heusden, running 9:22.73, a mere 17 days after Willard set
the record at the Trials.
20 kilometer Race Walk
Dow (Manchester, N.H.) finished first in the women’s 20 km Race Walk at
the 2008 Olympic Trials in her fourth attempt to make the U.S. Olympic
team. Dow, who at 44 is the oldest member of the track and field roster
is a four-time USA outdoor champion and five-time USA indoor champion.
For more information on Team USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; visit www.usatf.org.