Moscow, Russia -
Two former University of Oregon Ducks took to the track
of Luzhniki Stadium on Friday night - one left disappointed, while the
other is feeling confident and looking forward to running for a medal on
Distance ace Galen Rupp took eighth in a speed up - slow down, tactical
5000 meters, which was won by his training mate, Mo Farah of Great Britain.
Six-time World Championship medalist Bernard Lagat was sixth.
Earlier in the evening, Matthew Centrowitz survived a fast semifinal heat
in the 1500 meters to qualify for Sunday's final. Centrowitz moved from
last place at the bell to second on the final curve and he coasted to the
finish in second in 3:35.95.
The former Oregon star, who like Rupp and Farah trains in Portland under
Alberto Salazar, has now made three consecutive 1500 meter finals in major
championships, finishing third at the world meet in 2011 and fourth at the
Olympics last summer.
With his win in the 5000, Farah is closing in on the "greatest of all
time" tagline. He completed a very tough "double-double," winning the 5000
and the 10,000 at both the London Olympics and at these World
Championships, and has now won five gold medals in the past three major
Olympic and World Championships.
Rupp, who won a silver medal in the Olympic 10,000 meters last summer, did
not fare as well here in Moscow. The 27-year-old former Central Catholic
and Oregon star placed fourth in the 10,000 meters last Saturday night, and
had hoped to bounce back strongly in the race tonight.
The 5000 final started out at a jog, and then was a series of quick
surges, followed by a return to a slower pace. It stayed that way until the
last 800 meters, when the sprinting started. Farah's scorching 53.5 last
lap clinched it for him.
Rupp was, again, in it all the way, and ran a more than respectable final
two laps. But, eighth place was not at all what he had in mind when he came
Asked about the slow, uneven pace, Rupp said, "It's always a possibility.
You never know for sure how it's going to go, but we just try to prepare
for everything and do the best we can. Just got to get back to training,
and go on to the next one."Mo ran really well. He just does what he's always done. He's a great
closer and I'm really happy for him."
After a shaky start in the opening round, Centrowitz looked just like the
savvy runner with a lethal kick that has had success in championship races
over the last three years.
"It's three for three now," Centrowitz said. "(There's) no time to enjoy
it right now, I gotta gear up in two days and fight again."
While his 2013 season of racing has been up and down, Centrowitz said his
confidence was building here."The thing about the 1500 is there is always three rounds to build you up.
The first round is always the most iffy. I gained confidence going through
the rounds and I am definitely confident going into the finals."
It has been noted that his dad, Matt Centrowitz, Sr., made the 1980 U.S.
Olympic team but was unable to compete in the Moscow Olympics due to the
decision by President Jimmy Carter to boycott the Games over the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan. The track and field portion of the Olympics took
place in the same stadium where the World Championships are being held. While his father is not here in person, Centrowitz said he appreciates his
support more than ever now.
"I talked to him last night" Centrowitz said. "Lately, it's been really
nice having conversations with my dad. In the past he was always telling me
what I needed to work on. Now that I'm at this stage of my career, he takes
a lot of the pressure off of me. Alberto's the one to put the pressure on
and my dad's like reassuring me that I'll run well.
"It's always tough in our career, but he doesn't make it seem like I'm
expected to win or do this. He just presents it like if I don't do
something amazing it's alright because I'm still young and I've done pretty
good so far."
Asked if Matt Centrowitz, Sr. told his son to go win the medal that he
missed out on competing for, the younger Centrowitz just laughed and said,"No, he's a been a great parent, but now that I've made the finals I'm sure
he's going to say that."
Notes . . . Eight-time world gold medalist Allyson Felix tore her
hamstring in the 200 meter final on Friday evening. Felix said in a written
statement that it was a serious injury and that she was "extremely
devastated." . . . A young U.S. 4 x 400 relay team, averaging just 23 years
of age, easily won the gold on Friday in 2:58.71. Anchor LaShawn Merritt
got the baton in first and easily pulled away to the win . . . All three
American 800 meter runners - Brenda Martinez, Ajee Wilson and Alysia
Montano - qualified for Sunday's final . . . Ryan Whiting of the U.S. took
second in the shot put behind Germany's David Storl . . . American men were
shut out in the long jump.