The Americans React - Nick Symmonds & Duane Solomon Are Still Dreaming Of Medals As The 36-Year-Old Khadevis Robinson Fails To Make Final Yet Again

Solomon And Symmonds Both Win Their Heats As Robinson Fails To Make 1st Final In His 9th Attempt

August 6, 2012
London, England

Editor's note: We have recapped the first round race action of the men's 800 at the 2012 London Olympics in a separate article here where we describe how Americans Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds advanced by winning there heats but Khadevis Robinson failed to advance. Here we give you what you can't get without being in London - the post-race interaction with the three American entrants.

36-year-old Khadevis Robinson, who he have always said is one of the best interviews on the circuit, leaves another World Championships/Olympics without making the final. Here and in the 2004 Olympics, KD went out in the first round. Robinson made every World Championships team from 1999 to 2011, making the semis every time but the first two times, yet never made the final. The closest he ever came was 2009, when he finished fourth in his semi, and the four guys in front of him went one, two, three, four in the final with Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the fourth-place finisher in the semi, winning gold. There will be no semifinal here and Robinson knows the global championships have been his Achilles, heel saying, "The World Championships and the Olympics have been the toughest thing for me."

As for the Olympic stage, Robinson said, "There's a balance between wanting it and wanting it too much." Robinson said he was "fairly confident" heading into London, not nervous and that he had not raced since the Trials, but had made a huge focus on trying to put himself in better position early on in the race. That ultimately backfired here. He said, "I tried to run a different kind of race, and I tried to get myself in a better position than I had all season. I tried to get in that fourth or fifth position as opposed to being in the back, and I didn't get that position. I just fought it. I never could grab it so I just ran in lane two the whole race. You just can't do that here."

In hindsight Robinson said when he could not get in the position he wanted, he should have "gone back to his normal race plan" of running on "rhythm." As they hit the final stretch however, Robinson was in contention and said with 90, even 70 meters to go he thought he was fine. In the end he just didn't have the last 100m and expressed bluntly, "I just didn't run well. It's that simple." Robinson was fortunate to bring his family to London, where the veteran will stay and cheerlead Team USA. Then it's "back to work" coaching the women at UNLV.

Duane Solomon Is Confident
Duane Solomon has broken 1:45 twice in his life, at the Olympic Trials and then his surprising 1:43.44 in Monaco, but he ran like an experienced 1:43 guy here, full of confidence. Overall, he said, "I feel like I timed my season just right, perfectly." Duane said even without his last race, he likely would have led anyway, but the 1:43 helped give him confidence, saying, "I feel like either way I would have done that. 1:43 definitely gives me the confidence that I should go into the first round and make it out pretty comfortably."

Duane is officially now at another level as he was talking about wanting "to conserve some energy for tomorrow." As for the semis, he knows how brutal the 800m semis are with three heats of eight and only two guys automatically advancing to the final. With the randomness of the 800m semi draws, it really is a crap shoot. Duane said, "The semis is going to be an all-out final. If I can make it out of that, I feel like my chances in the final are going to be great."

Solomon said he has a good sense of pace and ideally would like to come through in 50-point. Ideally he doesn't like to lead either, saying, "I race better when I have to follow someone. That's what I did at Monaco. That's what I did at the Trials."

Nick Symmonds Was Inspired By Galen Rupp
Two-time Olympic Trials champ Nick Symmonds has made the last two Worlds finals. He has been in London for nearly a month and is glad the track action is underway. He got excited when talking about Galen Rupp getting a silver saying Galen, whom he knew as a high schooler, showed that "It can be done. We can do this. He kind of opened it up for everybody." He called Galen's medal "really inspirational." Nick said it shows "this delusion that only East Africans can win the distance medals is not true and I was really proud of him and I just hope I can do the same."

As for round 1, Nick said, "I'm just glad it was an honest race so it strung out a bit. No pushing and shoving, it was a relatively smooth race." Nick said in the first round he likes to "feel a little bit flat and use this first round to blow it out a bit."

Up next is the most brutal round of the Olympics - the semifinals of the 800. 24 runners get whittled down to an 8-man final. The same thing happens in the 100m, but in the 800m semis it is more likely some of the top guys are in the same heats, and advancing on time is harder, as 800m are not time trials like 100s.

Symmonds knows the semis are a very "unforgiving round." He's ready and he did not know it at the time but he'll actually have to take on David Rudisha in his semifinal. Plus there will be 9 guys in Nick's heat. So that means eight guys will be fighting for one automatic spot after Rudisha.

On Rudisha, Nick said, "He's lost two races in the last three years. I believe both have been on a cold, raining nights so that's why I've been tweeting up a storm, "Pray for cold, rainy Oregon weather, please."

Nick said he is "not much of a time trialer as we saw in Monaco" but that he ran well in David Rudisha's world record race.

And now time for a free plug of Nick's sponsors. IOC Rule 40 prevents him from talking about them for a time period before, during and after the Olympics. Symmonds has been an outspoken advocate for more athlete rights. He said, "I would not be here without them (my sponsors). My sponsors have gotten me to this point by allowing me to train for four years since '08. They've paid for my bills, my travel, my coaching, put food on my table. Then I'm supposed to come here the one time track and field gets a little media attention and they're not welcome. I can't give them any return on their investment. It's the most absurd rule I've ever heard and needs to be done away with."

When asked why a bunch of athletes did not just get together and all tweet about their sponsors together, daring the IOC to kick them all out of the Olympics, Nick said, "I'm not an anarchist. I'll play by the rules."

For the record, Nick's sponsors are Nike and Hanson Dodge Creative. He never mentioned them by name.

LRC Men's 800m  Round 1 Recap: All 3 Americans Advance

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