LOS ANGELES – Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezighi, and Jared Ward will be the three men representing the United States in the 2016 Olympic marathon in Rio de Janeiro on August 21 after their one-two-three finish in Saturday’s U.S. trials race in Los Angeles.
Rupp crossed the finish line in 2:11:12 as the hot temperatures on the course resulted in a tactical affair for the first half of the race. Keflezighi and Ward following him up in 2:12:20 and 2:13:00, respectively.
Luke Puskedra finished fourth and missed a spot on the Olympic team by 39 seconds.
Meet the latest members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.
Galen Rupp, three-time U.S. Olympian (2012 silver medalist at 10,000 meters)
Rupp is best known for his silver medal run at the 2012 Olympics, when he finished second behind training partner Mo Farah in the 10,000 meters. Saturday's race was the first marathon of his career. Just four years before, he had finished 13th in his first Olympics in Beijing. Rupp possesses top-level speed in the closing stages of a tactical race, which is evidenced by his range of personal bests, from 3:50.92 for the mile indoors to 26:44.36 for the American record at 10,000 meters.
Rupp says he also plans to run the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in July to try and make the Olympic team in the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters. If he makes both those teams, he would have to choose which events he would double in. Rupp has never contested the marathon at the Olympics.
Rupp joins George Young as the only U.S.Olympic marathon qualifiers in their debut at the 26.2 mile distance.
2008: 10,000m, 13th, 27:36.99
2012: 5,000m, 7th, 13:45.04
2012: 10,000m, 2nd, 27:30.90
Meb Keflezighi, four-time U.S. Olympian (2004 silver medalist in the marathon)
Keflezighi turns 41 on May 5 and will be the oldest U.S. Olympic distance runner in history when he goes to the line in Rio. The 2014 Boston Marathon champion also owns a victory at the 2009 New York City Marathon and 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. In his first Olympics, Keflezighi finished 12th in the 10,000-meter run at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.
After transitioning to the roads, Keflezighi won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympic marathon, the first marathon medal for an American man since Frank Shorter’s silver at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. If Keflezighi were to medal in Rio de Janeiro, he would tie Shorter (who also won gold in 1972) with two Olympic medals, the most by an American man at the distance.
At the 2012 Olympics, Keflezighi surprised many by finishing fourth, less than two minutes behind former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang for bronze. He was the lone American to finish the race.
2000: 10,000m, 12th, 27:53.63
2004: Marathon, 2nd, 2:11:29
2012: Marathon, 4th, 2:11:06
Jared Ward, first-time U.S. Olympian
Ward debuted in the marathon at Chicago in 2013, in the middle of his senior year of cross-country while his eligibility was up in the air due to an odd rule regarding his participation in a fun run. He finished his collegiate career and dedicated himself to the roads.
He debuted at 2:16:17, dropped to 2:14:00 in 2014 and then claimed the U.S. championship in Los Angeles last March in 2:12:56. He did not race a fall marathon in 2015. Ward is coached by two-time Olympic marathoner Ed Eyestone.
This will be his first Olympics.