Abdi Abdirahman, a four–time U.S. Olympian, has been scratched from the upcoming 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles on Feb. 13 due to a left calf injury.
Abdirahman was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon team after finishing third at the 2012 Olympic Trials behind Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall. Earlier this month, Hall announced his retirement from competitive running at the age of 33. Keflezighi, 40, will be the lone returner from the 2012 Olympic team toeing the starting line in L.A.
“Abdi had a setback in training recently that has prevented him from training properly for 10 days and has made the difficult decision that he will not be ready for the marathon trials,” agent Ray Flynn told SI.com. “He is hoping to be able to heal quickly and possibly even run a spring marathon.”
Abdirahman was very optimistic about his chances of finishing in the top three, which would secure him a spot for the Olympic team headed to Rio de Janeiro in August.
“I honestly believe that I had the best chance of anyone in that trials of making the team because I have put all my eggs in one basket for such a long time,” Abdirahman said on Monday.
Abdirahman could become the first American distance runner to make five Olympic teams but will now have to attempt the feat at the 2016 Olympic Trials on the track in Eugene, Ore., in July. He also did not rule out a return to the track.
“Don't be surprised if you see me on the track to be honest,” Abdirahman told SI.com on Jan. 9. “I still do track workouts but I just never wear spikes about once a week. Sometimes when I'm doing those workouts, I feel like I can still do the 10K. I know it's not going to be easy since I have not run for about five or six years on the track but it would take a few races to get the feel of the track. I'd love to run some track races and maybe start with a 3K or 5K and just get the feeling.”
Abdirahman competed in the 10,000-meters at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics with a best finish of 10th place in Sydney. He dropped out of the Olympic marathon in London after about 10 miles. Since the Summer Games, Abdirahman has only contested the marathon distance once and finished 16th at the 2014 Boston Marathon in 2:16:06.
“I love running marathons sometimes…other times I don’t. I’m honest,” Abdirahman told SI.com before his withdrawal. “The marathon is a funny event when it goes well. Other times when it doesn’t, it’s the last thing that you want to think about.”
Abdirahman turned 39 on Jan. 1 and his marathon personal best of 2:08:56 from the 2006 Chicago Marathon will turn 10 in October. Abdirahman could return to form and contest April's Boston Marathon.
“Everything good comes to an end but this isn't the end,” Abdirahman said on Monday afternoon. “I just have to focus on the next chapter of my career and gear up for the next marathon and then the 10K.”
- Christopher Chavez