Molly Seidel earns bronze in the marathon to become the third-ever American medalist in the event By Matt Wisner


That Molly Seidel took the Olympic bronze, in the awful heat and humidity of Japan made the fans of @bygollymolly12, in Wisconsin and across North America, ecstatic. Molly has a wicked sense of humor and has only competed in 3 marathons (2020 US Olympic Trials, 2020 Virgin London Marathon, and now the Tokyo Olympic marathon), the third being in Tokyo.

Matt Wisner writes about Molly competing in Tokyo and her historic performance!

Molly Seidel earns bronze in the marathon to become the third-ever American medalist in the event

By Matt Wisner


SAPPORO -- It was as hot as 88 degrees Fahrenheit with 90% humidity in Sapporo, Japan for the women's marathon Saturday. Roughly 40 women made up the lead pack at the 10-kilometer mark. But with every step, because of the heat, the numbers dwindled.

By the 35-kilometer mark, only five women remained: the American Molly Seidel, the two Kenyans Brigid Kosgei and Peres Jepchirchir, the Israeli Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, and the Bahraini Eunice Chumba.

The only name who may have been a surprise in that group was Seidel. This was only the third marathon of her life, and her personal best of 2:25:13 was much slower than the other women she found herself running alongside.

Chumba fell off the pace, and only four women remained. The women strung out, and Seidel found herself in fourth place, her chance of winning an Olympic medal slipping away from her.

But with three miles remaining in the race, Salpeter began to walk. Seidel found herself in third and thirty seconds ahead of Ethiopia's Rosa Dereje who was now running in fourth.

Seidel just had to finish.

The two Kenyans, who were running stride for stride in the late stages of the race, broke apart with a mile to go. Jepchirchir pulled away from her training partner to win the race in 2:27:20. Kosgei, the current world record holder, held on for second place and finished in 2:27:36, 13 minutes slower than her personal best.

Seidel finished in third in 2:27:46, only two-and-a-half minutes slower than her personal best.

"I just wanted to come out today and get up in it, stick my nose where it didn't belong, and just see what I could come away with," Seidel told NBC in the broadcast. "And I guess that's a medal."

Seidel is now the third American woman to medal in the marathon since the event was added to the Olympics in 1984. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the inaugural marathon in 1984, and Deena Kastor placed third in 2004.

In a school project in the fourth grade, Seidel wrote, "I wish I will make it into the Olympics and win a gold medal." In Tokyo, she came pretty close--closer than she ever imagined was possible.

There were two other Americans in the field. Sally Kipyego finished 17th in 2:32:53. Aliphine Tuliamuk, the U.S. Olympic Trials champion, did not finish the race; she was never with the lead pack. (In a press release, US media was informed that Aliphine had injured her hip two weeks out from Tokyo and just could not finish).

Seidel's final words on the broadcast were a message to her family who was watching her from home in Wisconsin: "Please drink a beer for me."

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