In a 1500 meter final run at a slower pace than many anticipated, the U.S. streak of 108 years without a gold medal in the event came to an end.
Matthew Centrowitz, who finished fourth in the 1500 four years ago in London, took gold with a time of 3:50.00. Centrowitz going into the final lap, and he managed to hang on despite the best efforts of reigning Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria. Makhloufi took silver with a time of 3:50.11.
Centrowitz: “I didn’t ever dream of actually winning”
Taking bronze was New Zealand’s Nicholas Williams, who at 3:50.24 beat Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti by five one-hundredths of a second for the final medal spot. Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop, who was expected to be a medal contender entering the race, finished sixth. Fellow Kenyan Ronald Kwemoi, also seen as a medal contender before the race, fell during the race and could not recover, finishing 13th with a time of 3:56.76.
American Ben Blankenship was unable to join Centrowitz on the medal stand, as his time of 3:51.09 placed him eighth.
Centrowitz is the son of Matthew Sr., who competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal but did not get to compete in 1980 due to the American boycott of those Summer Olympics in Moscow.