Thursday, February 21, 2013
Resurgence in American Distance Running
For years, Africans have dominated every track event from 800m to the marathon. However, Americans are finally finding their way onto the podium at the Olympics and World Championships. This past summer, Galen Rupp’s silver medal finish in the 10,000m was America’s first medal in the event since Billy Mills in 1964. Leonel Manzano, a Texas native, earned 1500m silver in the 2012 London Olympics; it was the first American medal in the event since legendary Jim Ryun’s silver in 1968. A year prior, at the World Outdoor Championships in Daegu, Korea, Jenny Simpson won the 1500m, the first American female to win since 1983.
As surreal as it is, America is still producing world-class athletes, even on the junior-level stage. The recent buzz in track and field surrounds 16-year old New Yorker, Mary Cain. Mary recently smashed two national high school records in the two-mile and mile run, respectively. She shredded the previous record of 9:55.92, set back in 1991, to a blistering 9:38.68 at the New Balance Grand Prix on February 2, 2013. A week later, she broke her own mile record by over 4 seconds with an astonishing 4:28.25.
There is no question that American distance running is back. But the question remains: Can America keep producing world medals and new records? With the indoor season wrapping up and the outdoor season near, time will only tell.