Walker's Pace: Ducks' Magnificent 10 in London
Monday, August 13, 2012
The 10 University of Oregon alumni who competed at the recently completed London Olympics brought home a trio of medals - including two golds - and a half dozen top-10 finishes for TrackTown USA.
At the top of that list was Ashton Eaton's win in the decathlon, becoming the first Duck to medal in that event and only the fourth man to win gold as an Oregon alum.
Keshia Baker also grabbed a gold medal - the first for an Oregon woman - as a member of Team USA's winning 4x400 meter relay squad. She ran the lead leg in the semifinals to help the Americans qualify for the final.
Galen Rupp's silver in the 10,000 meters was also a milestone for American distance runners. He became just the third U.S. runner to medal at that distance, joining Billy Mills (gold, 1964) and Lewis Tewanina (silver, 1912). Rupp also ran the fastest 10K time ever by an American (27:30.90) at the Games.
Rupp also placed seventh in the 5,000 meters, which was the highest finish by an Oregon alum since the legendary Steve Prefontaine took fourth in that memorable 1972 Olympics.
Matthew Centrowitz also helped the Americans make gains on the track with his fourth-place finish in the 1,500 meters. Despite just missing a medal, Centrowitz was part of a 2-4 finish that was the best Olympic showing for the Americans in generations. The last time a pair of U.S. men finished in the top four of the Olympic 1,500 meters was the 1936 Berlin Games (Glenn Cunningham, 2nd; Archie San Romani, 4th).
It was also the best ever showing by a Duck in the Olympic men's 1,500 meters, bettering Dyrol Burleson's fifth-place finish in 1964.
Becky Holliday took ninth in the pole vault - Oregon's first ever finalist in the event, while Brianne Theisen, competing for Canada, placed 11th in the heptathlon.
Oregon had three competitors in the 1,500 meters, with Andrew Wheating and Zoe Buckman joining Centrowitz. Both Wheating and Buckman were semifinalists and Buckman, competing for Australia, became the first Duck woman to advance to the semifinals.
Ducks were also well represented in the javelin with Cyrus Hostetler in the men's competition and Rachel Yurkovich in the women's. Hostetler became the sixth UO alum to compete in the Olympic men's javelin, while Yurkovich was the third woman's alum to appear.
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