Men’s 1,500m final: Centrowitz (4), Manzano (2), Iguider (3), and Makhloufi (1),
photo by PhotoRun.net
A fast 1,500 meters, and some huge surprises. First, Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic champion, the 2009 and 2011 World Champion, and the fastest man in the world in 2012, finished last. Reuters’ Gene Cherry suggested to me, just before the final, that Kiprop might be injured. He was right.
And, miraculously, Taoufik Makhloufi, who dropped out of the 800 meters the day before, was disqualified for not making an honest effort, then, reinstated, then won the race with a kick from 410 meters out!
And, Leo Manzano became, with Jim Ryun (68), Bob McMillan (52), Glenn Cunningham (36) and Abel Kiviat (12), one of the few Americans to take silver in the Olympic 1,500 meters. Add to that, Matt Centrowitz,s fourth place in the 1,500 meters, and you had a truly hot August night of distance running!
Belal Mansoor Ali took the race out, hitting the 400 meters in 58.30. In the front pack were Abdalaati Iguider, Henrik Ingebrigtsen, the European 1,500m champion, Mekonnen Gebremedhin, Nick Willis, the 2008 silver medalist and Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic champ and 2009, 2011 World Champs.
Kiprop went to the back pretty quick and did not move there. He finished last in 3:43.83. Something, for Asbel Kiprop was terribly wrong.
Nixon Chepseba took the lead at 800 meters, in 1:56.63, and then, he went to the back of the pack, finishing a dejected 11th place, in 3:39.04.
Silas Kiplagat of Kenya, the last Kenyan in contention, lead at 2:54.72, with 300 meters to go, and he fought longer, finishing seventh in 3:35.04.
By this time, Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria, who had won the national 1,500 race in Oslo, and had noted that he was dedicating himself to medaling in London, was running full boar. Our keen observer, Justin Lagat, told RBR that Makhloufi began his charge to home with 410 meters to go.
By 300 meters, Makhloufi was off and running, with all others charging. Leo Manzano moved up from ninth place, and Matt Centrowitz, who was up near the front was ready to pounce.
As Henrick INgebrigtsen of Norway (finished fifth in 3:35.43, NR) was passed by Manzano, Leo did not stop. He got all the way to second, kicking hard down the final stretch and caught all but Makhloufi.
Taoufik Makloufi of Algeria achieved his goal of a medal in the games. He won the gold medal, running 3:34.08. In second, Leonel Manzano took the first silver medal for the US since Jim Ryun in 1968, running 3:34.79, his seasonal best.
Matthew Centrowitz waited until the final stretch to charge, missing the bronze by .004, as Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco took the bronze in 3:35.13 to 3:35.17.
A strange, but honest race. Good pace, strong kickers. US put two in top four. Kenya had no one in top six.
Our correspondent in Eldoret, Kenya told us that as Silas Kiplagat went out of contention, the TV in the bar he was in was turned off. Not a great night for Kenyan men in the 1,500 meters.
Leo Manzano noted afterwards how happy he was to medal and how honored he was to be in the company if Jim Ryun and Bob McMillan.
A tremendous night for US distance running. Congrats to Leo Manzano and Matthew Centrowitz and their coaches, John Cook and Alberto Salazar and Andy Powell. Andy has been coaching Matthew through most of his college career.
Leo Manzano, Olympic 1,500m silver medalist, by PhotoRun.net
Leo Manzano, I am fond of saying, has the street smarts of Fermin Cacho, the 1992 Olympic 1,500m winner. Matthew Centrowitz does too. With two runners like this, our fortunes are bound to continue upwards.
US distance running is going through a renaissance. There are many, many reasons, but the constant introspection of coaches, athletes and sponsors is a major reason. Leo Manzano has had some great races, and some not so great. He is willing to learn and let it all go on the line. He is a great role model for Latinos and non-Latinos. I liked that he had his two flags up there. An American and a Hispanic American, that is mui bueno. I guess he will have to make cover for Latinos Corriendo?
The XXX Olympic Games
London (GBR) – Tuesday, Aug 07, 2012
1500 Metres – M FINAL
||Ilham Tanui Ã–zbilen
||Belal Mansoor Ali
||Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba