Lincoln Advances to Olympic Finals of Steeplec
BY ANDRES FOCIL
ATHENS, Greece – Former Razorback Daniel Lincoln made the United States proud when he became the only American to advance to the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Olympics. The four-time NCAA champion and Fayetteville, Ark., native finished fourth in the first heat and earned a berth to the finals based off his time of 8:19.62.
After the first three laps Lincoln took over the lead after he had been running in the third and fourth places. He held his lead comfortably until the last 600 meters when Khamis Saifeldin of Qatar surged past Lincoln and led a group of other runners. Saifeldin took the tape with a time of 8:17.89, while Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi was second with 8:18.20. Bouabdallah Tahri of France was third (8:19.62) to grab the last automatic qualifying position.
“It’s not a pretty way of doing it, but I got the job done,” Lincoln said. “Even though I was leading I was still really nervous. I kept wondering how many guys were just sitting behind me and when they were going to kick. The guy from Spain stepped out to lane two, just begging for someone to take the lead, so I took it and tried to make it fast.”
Besides having the support of Team USA, Lincoln’s family including his wife, Jennifer, and mother and father, Jacqui and Ivy Lincoln, were also in attendance to watch him fulfill his Olympic dreams.
“We’re thrilled,” Jacqui Lincoln exclaimed. “We were tickled pink that he qualified (for the Olympics) in the first place and now he’s in the finals. It’s great.”
“We’re used to him leading, but that’s never an assurance,” Ivy Lincoln said. “He had us on the edge for a little while there, but we’re proud of him that he conserved his energy. It looks like he had it figured out.”
Lincoln’s performance was eighth overall and he will be joined by 14 additional athletes in the finals on Aug. 24 at 9:40 p.m. (Athens time).
“In the finals I’ve just got to go for it and put it all out there,” Lincoln said. “I’ll see what the other guys do after the first kilometer or so to determine my pace.”
In Sunday’s schedule Matt Hemingway will be the only former Hog competing. He will try to claim a medal for the U.S. in the finals of the high jump at 7:30 p.m.
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