Symmonds '06 takes silver for 800-meter run in Moscow

by University Communications,

MOSCOW — Former Willamette University runner Nick Symmonds '06 earned the silver medal in the finals of the 800-meter run at the IAAF World Championships on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Symmonds finished the race in 1:43.55 for his top time of the year.

Mohammed Aman from Ethiopia won the gold medal in 1:43.31. Ayanleh Souleiman from Djibouti achieved the bronze medal with a time of 1:43.76.

Symmonds claimed the first medal for the United States in the men's 800-meter run at an Olympic or World Championship competition since 1997.

It was the third consecutive trip to the finals for Symmonds, who placed fifth in 2011 and took sixth place in 2009. The IAAF World Championships are held every two years.

Symmonds and U.S. teammate Duane Solomon were at the front of the race entering the second lap. Symmonds moved into the lead toward the end of the final turn. He remained in the lead for most of the final 100 meters, but Aman made a late surge and passed Symmonds with about 15 meters to go. Solomon faded to sixth place.

Souleiman, who edged Symmonds in a photo finish in the third semifinal heat on Sunday, ran a good race in the finals to attain the bronze medal. Marcin Lewandowski from Poland finished fourth in 1:44.08, while Andrew Osagie of Great Britain took fifth place in 1:44.36 after holding eighth place for much of the race. Solomon's sixth place time was 1:44.42.

Rounding out the race were Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France in seventh with a time of 1:44.79 and Abdulaziz Ladan Mohammed of Saudia Arabia at 1:46.57 for eighth place.

While he was a student-athlete at Willamette, Symmonds competed in track and field and cross country. He won seven NCAA championships in track and field, earning four titles in the 800-meter run and three titles in the 1,500-meter.

Since graduating, Symmonds has been among the national leaders in the 800-meter run and has experienced success at the international level.

He won five consecutive U.S. titles in the 800 from 2008 through 2012, and took second place in 2006, 2007 and 2013. He reached the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and took fifth place in the finals of the London Olympics in 2012 with a personal-best time of 1:42.95.