Team USA places two in top 10 of men's marathon

08-23-2008

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Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field
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BEIJING - Dathan Ritzenhein (Eugene, Ore.) and Ryan Hall (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) were ninth and 10th, respectively, to put two Team USA athletes in the top 10 of the Olympic men's marathon for the first time since 1976 in competition Sunday morning. The race concludes Olympic track and field competition as Team USA won the medal race with 23 medals and seven golds.

Competing in warm, but not blazing hot conditions at 7:30 a.m., the race was on record pace from the gun as Samuel Kamau Wanjiru of Kenya took out the first 5 km in 14:52. Ritzenhein was at 14:59 and Hall at 15:03, with teammate Brian Sell (Rochester Hills, Mich.) running 71st in 15:43.

The pace at the front did not relent as half way was passed in 1:02:34 for the leaders, with Ritz 12th at 1:03:54, Hall 17th at 1:04:26 and Sell 41st at 1:06:14.

At just 21 years old, Wanjiru broke away from Jaouad Gharib of Morocco and Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia at 35k and kept cruising. When he hit the tape at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium, Wanjiru had run 2:06:32 to crush Carlos Lopes' Olympic record of 2:09:21, set in 1984 in Los Angeles. Gharib was second in 2:07:16, with Kebede third in 2:10:00.

After stopping just past 30 km to work out severe cramping in his legs, Ritzenhein finished ninth in 2:11:59. Hall was 10th in 2:12:33, and Sell finished 22nd in 2:16:07. Not since Frank Shorter was second and Don Kardong was fourth in 1976 have two Americans made the top 10 in the men's marathon.

For more information on Team USA at the Olympic Games, including athlete quotes, event schedule, TV schedule and complete results, visit www.usatf.org

Team USA athlete quotes - men's marathon

Dathan Ritzenhein (Eugene, Ore.): "I am pretty happy. I thought I had a good shot at a medal. I tried to put myself in it early. I came through 5k in 14:59, 2:06 pace, and I knew if I kept that up, I couldn't finish. I kept picking people off until I was 10th, at about 25k. Then I started cramping up pretty bad. My calf was cramping. Everything was going on me. I had to stop just after 30k because my left hamstring was cramping up. I put my emergency gels in my last bottles. They have a lot of sodium, so I drank those. ... I didn't feel bad at all. I was just cramping like crazy. ... To be able to come here and finish ninth at the Olympics, it's a big step for me. Hopefully I can continue climbing the ladder."

"To run 2:06:32 in this is incredible."

Ryan Hall (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.): "I did the best I could. I ran my heart out. It wasn't quite as good as I had hoped for. You have to give credit to those guys at the front. ... I was trying to convince myself to finish as best I could. It's all about finishing as high as I can. I'm happy for Dathan. We got two guys in the top 10. ... I gave 100 percent of what I had today.

"They went out really fast. I thought it was way too hard, at least for me. I would have died if I went out that fast."

On the conditions: "It was definitely warm out there, but not as bad as I was expecting."

Brian Sell (Rochester Hills, Mich.): "I went out in about 1:06:20, 1:03:30, and I kind of hit the wall at 35k. It's (the Olympics) been great. This is my first Olympics. It's been a great experience for me. Everything has been great, from the Village to the city to the race course."

On the conditions: "It was not as bad as I had thought. It wasn't stifling, but it wasn't easy."

Team USA medal table, 2008 Olympic Games

Gold (7)

Stephanie Brown Trafton (Galt, Calif.), women's discus, 64.74m/212-5

Angelo Taylor (Decatur, Ga.), men's 400m hurdles, 47.25

Dawn Harper (Los Angeles), women's 100m hurdles, 12.54

LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.), men's 400m, 43.75

Bryan Clay (Glendora, Calif.), decathlon, 8,791

Women's 4x400m relay: Mary Wineberg (Cincinnati, Ohio), Allyson Felix (Los Angeles), Monique Henderson (Chula Vista, Calif.), Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas), 3:18.54

Men's 4x400m relay: LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.), Angelo Taylor (Decatur, Ga.), David Neville (Los Angeles), Jeremy Wariner (Waco, Texas), 2:55.39 OLYMPIC RECORD

Silver (9)

Christian Cantwell (Columbia, Mo.), men's shot put, 21.09m/69-2.5

Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, Ohio), women's heptathlon, 6619 points

Jenn Stuczynski (Churchville, N.Y.), women's pole vault, 4.80m/15-9

Kerron Clement (Los Angeles), men's 400m hurdles, 47.98

Sheena Johnson Tosta (Chula Vista, Calif.), women's 400m hurdles, 53.70.

Shawn Crawford (Los Angeles), men's 200m, 19.96

Jeremy Wariner (Waco, Texas), men's 400m, 44.74

David Payne (Hampton, Va.), men's 110m hurdles, 13.17

Allyson Felix (Los Angeles), women's 200, 21.93

Bronze (7)

Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.), women's 10,000m, 30:22.22AR

Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), men's 100m, 9.91

Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.), men's 400m hurdles, 48.06

Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas), women's 400m, 49.93

Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), men's 200m, 19.98

David Neville (Los Angeles), men's 400m, 44.80

David Oliver (Kissimmee, Fla.), men's 110m hurdles, 13.18