Symmonds Wins Heat, Advances to Semifinals

BEIJING, China -- Nick Symmonds '06 started his Olympic competition successfully Wednesday, winning his preliminary heat in the 800-meter run and becoming the only U.S. runner to advance to the semifinals.

Symmonds achieved a time of 1:46.01, three one-hundredths of a second ahead of Alfred Kirwa Yego from Kenya. Symmonds and Yego both earned automatic berths in the semifinals, to be held Thursday.

The field of 64 runners was reduced to 24 for the three semifinal heats, which start at 4:50 a.m. PT Thursday. The 800-meter final is set for Saturday at 4:30 a.m. PT.

It is not certain whether the preliminary heats or the semifinals will be shown on television. The final is scheduled to be included in NBC's primetime coverage Saturday night.

Symmonds was one of three Americans, all with Oregon ties, who competed in the preliminary heats. Andrew Wheating placed fourth in his heat with a time of 1:47.05. Christian Smith took fourth in his heat in 1:48.20. They did not advance.

For photos of Symmonds' preliminary race, visit

For more about Symmonds, who won seven NCAA Division III championships and majored in biochemistry at Willamette, visit