RIO DE JANEIRO – Tri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy earned a bronze medal in the men’s 800 meter run at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Monday night.
Murphy’s bronze was the United States’ first Olympic medal in the men’s 800 meter run since Johnny Gray won bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics – two-and-a-half years before Murphy was born.
Murphy ran a personal-best time of 1:42.93 in the Olympic final, beating his previous best of 1:44.30 from the Olympic semifinals on Saturday by more than a full second. He was fifth midway through the race but used his well-known late kick to move into medal position.
The 2013 Tri-Village alumnus finished behind Kenya’s David Rudisha, who defended his Olympic title with a winning time of 1:42.15, and Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi, who won silver with a time of 1:42.61. He beat France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, who finished almost a half second behind Murphy in 1:43.41, to claim the final podium spot.
For Murphy, his first Olympic experience ended in a way few could have expected after he nearly was eliminated during Friday’s preliminaries. In a physical heat Friday morning, he was bumped multiple times and almost fell once. He finished fourth in his heat, outside of automatic-qualifying position, but earned a spot in the semifinals because his time of 1:46.18 was one of the three fastest non-automatic qualifiers.
On Saturday he rebounded and finished second in his semifinal and fourth overall with a then-personal record of 1:44.30. He improved his place in the standings on Monday to claim a medal and a place in Olympic history.
Racing with Murphy, fellow American Boris Berian finished eighth in Monday’s Olympic final with a time of 1:46.15.
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.