Emily Sisson won the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials 10,000m on Saturday, 483 days after starting the marathon trials as favorite and dropping out by mile 22.
Sisson, 29, took the lead in the fifth lap of the 25-lap race, pushed the pace and dropped the hammer late. She won in 31:03.82, an Olympic Trials record in 85-degree heat in Eugene, Oregon.
“The Olympic marathon trials, that broke my heart,” said Sisson, who dropped out of the hilly marathon in Atlanta in part to save her legs for the track trials (not knowing track trials would be postponed one year by a global pandemic). “Usually I’m good at moving on from bad races, but I really struggled with that one. There was nothing to move on to, and my body wasn’t feeling good, even if there was.
“Looking back on it, it was so much work, but it was so worth it.”
Sisson distanced second place Karissa Schweizer by 12.7 seconds. Alicia Monson rounded out the three-woman team.
Sisson, who usually trains in the heat of Phoenix, and Monson made their first Olympic team.
“I talked to my coach [Ray Treacy] beforehand, and he said, let’s just play to your strengths, and your strength is your strength,” said Sisson, who ran in red-rimmed sunglasses borrowed from her husband minutes before the start.
Schweizer also finished second in the 5000m earlier at Trials and is going to her first Olympics, though she has not decided if she will race both events.
Two U.S. women raced both the 5000m and 10,000m at one Olympics — Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher, both in 2008 — since the women’s 5000m was added to the program in 1996. This summer, the 10,000m is five days after the 5000m final.
Earlier, Robyn Stevens and Nick Christie won the 20km racewalks, but no American man or woman has the minimum Olympic qualifying time in the event.
Stevens is 49th in Olympic qualification rankings and is likely to make the 60-woman Olympic field via that route, to be determined next week. Christie is 68th in men’s rankings.
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