TOKYO — Molly Seidel had dreams of winning an Olympic medal within the women‘s marathon Saturday, but she can also be a realist. She looked on the different names in the field. She noticed the non-public bests, lots of them 5 minutes quicker than her personal.
“I was hoping to be high 10, actually,” Seidel said.
So when she crossed the end line Saturday morning, behind solely a pair of Kenyans, Seidel had shocked even herself. She pumped her fists and set free a celebratory yell. On a muggy morning in Sapporo, Japan, she became an Olympic bronze medalist, ending in a time of 2:27:46.
It was just the third marathon Seidel, 27, has ever run.
“Simply trying to stay my nostril the place it did not belong and simply type of getting after it,” she mentioned. “I imply, Olympics solely occurs as soon as every 4 years. You would possibly as effectively take your shot.”
The women's marathon medalists of the #TokyoOlympics!
🥇 Peres Jepchirchir 🇰🇪
🥈 Brigid Kosgei 🇰🇪
🥉 Molly Seidel 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/4PlFqWpZd3
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 6, 2021
Seidel, who splits her time between Boston and Flagstaff, Arizona, is simply the third American woman to ever medal within the women’s marathon. Joan Benoit gained gold within the event in Los Angeles in 1984, and Deena Kastor took bronze in Athens in 2004.
Kenyans Peres Jepchirchir and Brigid Kosgei completed first and second in Saturday’s race, respectively.
Seidel’s performance in Sapporo was reminiscent of her equally stunning race on the U.S. Olympic trials in Atlanta, nearly 18 months in the past.
Few folks expected her to even make Staff USA, let alone contend for a medal. Though she gained 4 NCAA championships at Notre Dame in cross-nation and track, the marathon is still a relatively unfamiliar distance for her.
“She’s operating with expertise that she, fairly frankly, does not have,” NBC analyst Kara Goucher said during Saturday’s broadcast.
The Olympic marathon was held in Sapporo – about 500 miles north of Tokyo – resulting from issues about excessive warmth. Organizers also announced late Friday that the start time can be moved up an hour, from 7 a.m. to 6 a.m. local time, for the same motive.
Seidel said she was consuming dinner with Kipyego on Friday after they obtained word about the change. “I feel my jaw dropped a little bit,” she mentioned. While she knew the sooner begin would permit for a cooler climate, it additionally compelled Seidel to change her race plan on the eleventh hour. She mentioned she basically left dinner and went straight to bed.
A Wisconsin native, Seidel grew up operating 5k and 10k races earlier than deciding to give the marathon a try. She certified for the U.S. Olympic trials in Atlanta with a half-marathon time from Dec. 2019, then proceeded to complete second at trials in what was her marathon debut.
In Saturday’s race, Seidel stored with the lead pack for nearly the entirety of the race, hanging on as others started to fall behind. She said her purpose was to be the one that would trigger the leaders to go searching late within the race, see her and assume “who the hell is this lady?”
“They’re the best in the world,” Seidel mentioned. “However I figured if I hung with them long sufficient and simply type of was brave, one thing good would come from it.”
Seidel fell barely behind Jepchirchir and Kosgei within the final two miles, however by that time, she had all however secured bronze. She finished 78 seconds forward of the fourth-place finisher, Roza Dereje of Ethiopia.