Tri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy arrives in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics

DARKE COUNTY – United States Olympian Clayton Murphy, a 2013 Tri-Village graduate, made it to the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, according to a post on his Twitter feed Wednesday morning.

Murphy will compete for United States in the 800 meter run at the Olympics in Brazil having won the national championship last month at the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials. The 21-year-old former University of Akron star will represent the United States alongside fellow Americans Boris Berian and Charles Jock in the 800 meters.

Murphy will have time to take in the sights of the Olympics as his first race is more than a week away. The first round of the men’s 800 meter run is scheduled to begin at 9:10 a.m. Aug. 12. The semifinals are scheduled for 9:05 p.m. Aug. 13, and the finals are set for 9:25 p.m. Aug. 15.

The Olympics actually began with the group stage of women’s soccer on Wednesday. Men’s soccer begins on Thursday before the Olympics get into full swing with the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.

Murphy will walk with the United States’ delegation Friday night during the Opening Ceremony’s Parade of Nations, which includes athletes from more than 200 countries. The United States will be in the first half of the parade because in Portuguese, the national language of host Brazil, the United States is classified as Estados Unidos and countries are introduced in alphabetical order. The Opening Ceremony will be broadcast on NBC beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.

While Murphy is the United States’ national champion, he’ll be an underdog when Olympic competition begins.

The last medal won by the United States in the men’s 800 meter run came in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when Johnny Gray finished third and earned a bronze medal. The United States’ last gold medal in the men’s 800 came in 1972 in Munich when David James Wottle finished first.

The United States used to dominate the men’s 800 meters at the Olympics. At the 1904 St. Louis Games and 1912 Stockholm Games the USA won took all three podium places. The United States also had a streak of four consecutive gold medal performances from 1936 through 1956 (Olympics weren’t contested in 1940 and 1994 because of World War II).

However, now it is Kenya that reigns as the dominating country in the men’s 800 meters. Kenyans won gold and bronze at both the 2012 London Games and 2008 Beijing Games.

The defending gold medalist, Kenya’s David Rudisha, set a world record in London with a time of 1:40.91 in the 2012 Olympic finals.

Rudisha again will compete in Rio and is a favorite to repeat as the gold medalist. According to projections by Sports Illustrated, Rudisha is predicted to win gold while Kenya’s Alfred Kipketer and Poland’s Adam Kszczot are predicted to take silver and bronze, respectively.

Murphy’s personal-best time in the 800 meters is 1:44.76. At the 2012 Olympics that time would have been seventh in the semifinals, good enough to qualify for the finals but slower than any of the times in the finals. Last month Murphy, a professional athlete under contract with Nike, said his goal was to qualify for the finals and see what happens from there.

Two Americans ran in the finals of the men’s 800 meters in 2012 with Duane Solomon finishing fourth in 1:42.82 and Nick Symmonds finishing fifth in 1:42.95.

Tri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy arrived in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics, according to a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning. Murphy will represent the United States in the men’s 800 meter run at the Olympics.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2016/08/web1_Clayton-Murphy-WEB.jpgTri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy arrived in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics, according to a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning. Murphy will represent the United States in the men’s 800 meter run at the Olympics. Photo courtesy of Dennis Mitchell, University of Akron

By Kyle Shaner

[email protected]

Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.