Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds React to Their Historic Olympic 800s That Leave Them Short of the Medals

By LetsRun.com
August 9, 2012
London, England

The Olympic 800m final was the greatest 800m ever run. David Rudisha got gold, running a world record 1:40.91, Nijel Amos ran 1:41.73 and a world junior record for silver, 17 year old Timothy Kitum ran 1:42.53 for bronze and Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds became the second and third Americans under 1:43, in fourth and fifth, as all 8 men ran the fastest time for place in an 800. We recapped the race here, and have the reaction from Solomon and Symmonds below.

The 800m at the Olympics was the greatest 800m ever run.

The Americans Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds both ran the races of their lives and both came up just short of the medals. Duane Solomon, who had never broken 1:45 until the Olympic Trials in June, ran a huge pr of 1:42.82 for fourth, while Nick Symmonds, last throughout the race until the final 100m, ran a pr of 1:42.95 to finish just behind Solomon. Both were pleased with their performances with a tinge of hurt at having come so close to the medals.

Solomon Reaction: "It's Crazy":
Prior to Thursday, only one American had broken 1:43, American record holder Johny Gray, who got the bronze at the 1992 Olympics. A month ago, Gray somehow predicted his pupil Solomon, a man who then had only broken 1:45 only once in his life in the Olympic Trials final to make the US team, would run 1:43 if he made the Olympic final. Gray also guaranteed Solomon would medal if he made the final. Solomon proved his coach wrong, he ran even faster, 1:42.83, but unbelievably it wasn't good enough for a medal.

Afterwards, Solomon said what everyone was thinking, "I expected 1:43 to medal. Man, it's crazy that 1:40 won the race and two 1:42s didn't medal. Rudisha showed he's on a different level and the best in the world."

Solomon was happy with running so fast, but he knew he was so close to an Olympic medal. He said, "It hurts a little bit because I was so close. I saw the line and I saw the guy was coming back to me. I just didn't have enough leeway to catch him. I guess I could have run kind of a different race but I can't really with a pr like that."

Duane said, "I expected some people to be tired today after two rounds" which clearly wasn't the case.

He added, "The training we do is very intense. We kind of compare it to racing. We train so hard it makes the races seem a little easier. No one expected the race to be this quick that is why we thought we could medal here with a 1:43. But not even the 1:42(s) that me and Nick ran got a medal. No one really expected that. And I don't think anyone saw a world record (coming) either."

Duane had no idea what was next for him, in a state of shock with how things played out. When asked what led to his dramatic improvement this year, he said, "I just followed the plan Johnny gave me... We just had to figure out what worked for me. This year we figured out what worked for me, we didn't have to travel to big meets to run quick. We just had to train hard, get a little base under me, and really work on things that didn't go right last year."

Nick Symmonds Runs Faster Than He Thought Was Physically Possible For Him
All year five time straight US champion Nick Symmonds was fixated on an Olympic medal. He ran the race of his life, even faster than he ever though was physically possible for him and he came home in fifth place, unbelievably as the second American. When Symmonds exited the track, we saw him smile and shake his head wondering what the hell just happened.

Immediately after the race, Nick already had a grasp on the historical significance of the race. "That was phenomenal. That race is going to go down in history as the greatest 800m ever run on all counts. You've got Rudisha setting a world record. You've got 8 people, almost all running personal bests. 1:43.7 - I said would probably win a medal here, if not gold, and it was good for last place here. What more can you ask out of an 8(00)? What more can you ask for me and Duane for bringing the product like that? I'm very proud of what we were able to accomplish," he said.

When asked whether he was upset or happy Nick said, "It's a mixed feeling. On one hand I'm devastated because I don't have medal. On the other hand I know a brought a phenomenal product tonight and did everything I could to get one. At least I can live with myself knowing I did everything possible."

Interestingly Nick said he ran faster tonight than he thought was possible. "I did everything possible. I brought a 1:42.9 which I never thought I'd humanly be able to do, redefining my own limits which is really what the sport is about, competing at the highest level and redefining what you are capable of. I just feel really honored," he said.

When pressed what he previously thought his absolutely limit was Nick said, "I thought I could run 1:43 mid maybe at one point in my life. I'm just not physically gifted enough to run 1:42 but it shows what I know." Prior to tonight, Nick had run 1:43.7 twice, 1:43.8 twice, and 1:43.9 once.

If he could do anything over again, what would have Nick changed? Nothing. "It you look at my splits, I ran the EXACT (Nick's emphasis) race I wanted to run... I ran 1:42.9 and it wasn't good enough for a medal so I did everything I can and I can sleep tonight," he said.

With 200 to go Nick said he was thinking, "They'll have to come back to me there is no way they can hold this pace." Nick said he did not know Rudisha's pace but figured Rudisha had to be 1:14 at 600 which was correct.  

Nick said he was surprised with how well Duane Solomon did this year, but was full of praise for his teammate saying, "My hat goes off to him, that was an incredible race on his part."

In the past, Nick has said he is not a good time trialer. Now, he sees the possibility of Johnny Gray's record coming down. When asked about breaking Gray's record, Nick said, "If Duane keeps running well and I keep running well and we keep having match-offs in 2013 and are pushing each other every weekend I think we can do that. It would take combination of rabbits, weather and track surfaces and everything, but we're not very far off of it are we?"

Not far off at all, Nick. Nick said he had no idea what was next except he wanted to go hug his parents and coach and "go find a pint." We all should raise a pint to Nick and Duane.

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