Hocker Sixth, Lowers Record in Olympic Final
EUGENE, Ore. – In the final night session of track and field in Tokyo, three-time NCAA champion Cole Hocker put an exclamation point on his Olympic debut with a school-record time of 3:31.40 and sixth-place finish in the final of the 1500 meters. Galen Rupp, in his fourth Olympic appearance, registered an eighth-place finish in the men's marathon.
Hocker lowered his lifetime best for a second-consecutive race, taking more than two seconds off the 3:33.87 he produced in the semifinal. With the performance, he moved to from No. 10 to 3 on the USTFCCCA collegiate all-dates list, the fastest entry since Andrew Wheating ran 3:30.90 at the DL Monaco stop in 2010.
In the fastest Olympic final in history, Hocker was one of six runners under the old Olympic record of 3:31.65 set by Abel Kipsang of Kenya during the semifinal round. Hocker sat in ninth place at the bell lap and, over the final 300 meters used his familiar kick to surpass three runner to finish in sixth.
Hocker was the fourth UO man to advance to an Olympic final in the 1500 meters. He joined the exclusive list of Dyrol Burleson (1960, '64), Jim Grelle (1960) and Matthew Centrowitz (2012, '16). Hocker was the lone American in Saturday's final.
Rupp was making his second appearance in the Olympic marathon after a bronze finish in 2016. He ran with the lead pack through the initial two-thirds of the race but at that point, eventual champion Eliud Kipchoge began to push the pace. Rupp (2:11.41) fell back to 10th but maintained his spot in the top 10, ultimately finishing eighth.
The marathons were moved to Sapporo, approximately 500 miles north of Tokyo, to take advantage of typically cooler conditions. However, the runners in both men's and women's marathons battled heat and humidity. In the men's race, only 76 of the 106 starters finished.
Rupp was the top American in the race with teammates Jake Riley and Abdi Abdirahman finishing in 29th and 41st, respectively.
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