A listless Matthew Centrowitz finished last in his 1500m heat at the world championships on Thursday, abruptly ending his hopes of following an Olympic title with a world title.
“Just didn’t execute my plan today, yeah,” Centrowitz told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “No one ever has a perfect lead-up to any championship. This year was a little bit more rough than others. It’s been a tough year. Today was a culmination of all those things that have been frustrating, disappointing this year.”
Centrowitz, the first U.S. Olympic 1500m champion in 108 years, clocked 3:48.34 in his heat for 14th place. That’s 13 seconds slower than both of his 1500m races in July.
Centrowitz nearly ended his season before the USATF Outdoor Championships in June following a series of health problems.
A left adductor strain in April. A May visit to the emergency room with a viral infection similar to his 2014 bout with pericarditis. His heart rate was through the roof. Then, a right adductor tear.
Centrowitz, who placed second at nationals, did not mention any further setbacks after his last-place finish Thursday. He did say he was unable to get more than two straight weeks of healthy training this season.
“I dealt with more than I’ve ever had in my career, and it showed out there today,” Centrowitz told media in London. “My fitness is obviously not where I’d like to have been.”
It’s the first time Centrowitz failed to qualify for a global championship 1500m final. He took bronze at 2011 Worlds at age 21, then fourth at the 2012 Olympics, silver at the 2013 Worlds and was eighth at 2015 Worlds before the Rio breakout.
“Tough is the only word that comes to mind,” Centrowitz said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of expectations this year. I wanted to exceed those. It’s hard to duplicate the year I had [in 2016].”
Kenyan Asbel Kiprop advanced to Friday’s semifinals as he eyes a fourth straight world title.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi