At the Olympics on Tuesday, Nick Symmonds took third place in his semifinal heat and advanced to the finals. (Photo courtesy Statesman Journal)
Nick Symmonds advances to Olympic finals in 800-meter run
LONDON — Former Willamette University runner and chemistry major Nick Symmonds '06 kept his dream of an Olympic medal alive on Tuesday, Aug. 7 by taking third place in his semifinal heat, advancing to the finals of the 800-meter run at the London Olympics.
Symmonds registered a time of 1:44.87 in the second heat and received one of two at-large berths into the finals.
Earning automatic berths into the finals were the top two finishers in each of the three semifinal heats. Symmonds and fellow American Duane Solomon, who received the other at-large berth after taking third place in the third heat in 1:44.93, will give the United States a significant presence in the finals.
Winners of the heats were Abubaker Kaki from Sudan in Heat #1 in 1:44.51, overall favorite David Rudisha of Kenya in Heat #2 at 1:44.35 and Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia in Heat #3 in 1:44.34.
Second-place finishers advancing to the finals were Nijel Amos from Botswana at 1:44.54 in Heat #1, Andrew Osagie of Great Britain at 1:44.74 in Heat #2 and Timothy Kitum of Kenya at 1:44.63 in Heat #3.
Rudisha led throughout the second heat. Symmonds began the race near the back, waiting for the pack to form before advancing forward. He remained among the top runners into the second lap and made a move on the back stretch to solidify his position.
Symmonds was in a battle for second with Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia entering the final straight away behind Rudisha, but Borzakovskiy slowed, while Osagie and Marcin Lewandowski of Poland surged forward. Osagie slipped into second place as the finish line approached. He was 0.39 behind Rudisha and just 0.13 in front of Symmonds.
Lewandowski took fourth place in 1:45.08 and Borzakovskiy, who won the Olympic gold medal in 2004, was fifth with a time of 1:45.09. Kevin Lopez of Spain finished sixth in 1:46.66, Musaeb Abdulrahman of Qatar was seventh at 1:47.52, Hamada Mohamed of Egypt took eighth in 1:48.18 and Andy Gonzales from Cuba was ninth at 1:53.46.
The finals of the 800-meter run will take place on Thursday, Aug. 9 at noon Pacific Time. Plans are underway to setup an on-campus viewing opportunity. More details will be available between now and Thursday on this website and through Facebook and Twitter.