Most countries around the world use a selection committee to choose their Olympic Team Members, but not the USA. Prior to 1968, a series of races were used to select the USA Olympic Marathon team, but beginning in 1968 the format was changed to a single race on a single day with the top three finishers selected to be part of the Olympic Team and the fourth and fifth finishers designated as alternates.
As a once-every-four-years opportunity to be selected to the Olympic Marathon team, the USA Olympic Team Trials is arguably the most important marathon that many will run. For some, just getting to the Trials is a goal in itself and marks them as among the best in the USA.
For others, the Trials is the first step in making the Olympic Team. Whatever the motivation for running the Trials, one thing is for sure: the men and women who will represent the USA at the 2020 Olympic Marathon in Tokyo will come from the lists on these pages.
THE RACE - Galen Rupp won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for a second straight time, returning from a coaching change and major injury to repeat as champion.The trials were held Feb 29 in Atlanta Georgia.
Rupp, a two-time Olympic medalist, clocked an unofficial 2:09:20 to win by about 42 seconds and qualify for his fourth Olympics. He is joined on the Olympic team by second- and third-place finishersJacob RileyandAbdi Abdirahman.
Rupp was the 2016 Olympic Marathon Bronze Medalist. The 33-year-old Galen is from Portland Oregon. At the 2012 Olympics Galen was the 10,000m Silver Medalist.
Today was a bit challening. The wind was very strong but the temp was perfect being 50 degrees at the start.
After 20 miles Galen was in total control. The big question of the day was who was going to place second and third. At 25 miles Abdirahman, Maiyo, Korir and Riley were within two seconds of each other with Jacob Riley leading them. 31-year-old Riley best time before today was 2:10:36.
Jacob Riley finished second clocking 2:10:02 a new personal best for him. Abdirahman, 43, will breakBernard Lagat‘s record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history. He will become the second American runner to compete in five Olympics, joiningGail Devers, according to Olympic historianBill Mallon.
Jared Ward, who was sixth in the Rio Olympic marathon, began fading from a chase pack soon after Rupp surged to the lead in the 16th mile.
Rupp finished a marathon for the first time since October 2018. In between, he underwent Achilles surgery and dropped out of the 2019 Chicago Marathon with a calf injury. He also lost career-long coachAlberto Salazarto a doping suspension last fall.
Rupp was not implicated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and has a clean drug-testing record.
“I feel relief, almost, more than anything,” Rupp toldLewis Johnsonon NBC. “It’s been a really long year and a half.”