With five athletes competing, it was a busy ten days of Olympic athletics competition for Team KIMbia. After a total of eight performances (counting all prelims and finals), Evan Jager came away with the highest finish in his first-ever Olympic Games, finishing sixth in the Men’s Steeplechase, just four seconds out of medal position. The 23-year-old came home in 8:23 .87 having led several of the slow early laps and indicated he learned a lot from the experience of being in a tactical race that closes at sub-60 pace.
Shalane Flanagan took tenth in the marathon after reaching as high as fifth place with just four kilometers to go. Trying to stay within striking distance of a six-woman breakaway near the 25k mark, Shalane eventually paid a heavy for her medal-or-bust mentality, as major cramping caused her to struggle home the final few miles. Shalane and coach Jerry Schumacher were understandably disappointed, what with Flanagan entering the race as a Beijing bronze medalist, but neither expressed any regrets about running aggressively. Likewise, Lopez Lomong was also tenth in his event, the 5000m final. Lomong, a poster-boy for P&G and Visa during the Games, finished less than six seconds from the bronze.
Fionnuala Britton took fifteenth in the 10,000m — the #3 European in the race — before going out in the rounds of the 5000m, despite running a PB of 15:12. Matt Tegenkamp finished nineteenth in the men’s “10.” Tegenkamp explained his frustrating finish as something of a tactical error; after some reflection, he felt he may have mis-read the race and might have been better served by checking off on some early surges, to keep more in the tank for hard, steady running during the later laps.
Looking ahead, Jager will run a 3000 without all the hurdling and splashing in Stockholm’s Diamond League meet this Friday, alongside teammate Andrew Bumbalough. In addition to Jager, six Olympians are set to start the race.