It is one of the enduring images from the London 2012 Games: Morgan Uceny crouched on her knees on the track inside Olympic Stadium, pounding the pavement in anguish and frustration.
Replays showed that she tumbled after being clipped by another runner during the final lap of the 1,500m, and as she sobbed she wasn’t crying just because her Olympic dream had been dashed but because this had happened before – she also fell in the 1,500m world championship final last year.
Nearly two months after London and it sounds like Uceny is handling her snake-bitten reality pretty well.
“There is no good answer for why this keeps happening to me,” Uceny told Competitor.com. “I just know that I’m not going to let these incidents define my career.”
In the ‘5 Questions With…’-style interview, one question not asked was on the lips of many as her debacle unfolded in London: Why didn’t she get back up?
Her meltdown started almost the instant she hit the track, and it seemed to some that had she immediately gotten up again she could have caught the pack of runners. She almost certainly wouldn’t have won the race, but with a strong finish she might have vied for the podium.
But Uceny is looking ahead, not behind, so perhaps her interviewer was as well. Uceny, who ran the 800m earlier in her career, said she plans to
stick with the 1,500m and is already looking forward to Rio 2016. She’ll be 31 when the next Summer Games roll around, an age that may not be over the hill but is probably on its far side – the three medalists in this year’s 1,500m were 28 or younger.
Uceny said that her status as a relative newcomer to the event makes her feel as if she still has a lot of untapped potential. Here’s hoping that potential is also accompanied by some better luck so that four years from now, win or lose, there won’t be any lingering questions.
Aaron Stern is a regular contributor to OlympicTalk. Feel free to heap love and praise on him using Twitter.