Lincoln Captures Steeplechase Gold; Makes Olym
BY ANDRES FOCIL
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Late Thursday night former Razorback Daniel Lincoln became the first athlete with Arkansas affiliations to make the United States Olympic Team when he claimed first place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Lincoln dominated the field with a career-best and Olympic Trials record time of 8:15.02. His previous best of 8:17.93 was recorded in June in Ostrava, Czech Republic and easily surpassed the Olympic “A” standard of 8:24.60.
Lincoln staged a smart race and stayed comfortably in the top three. With 600 meters remaining he confidently took the lead and cruised to victory. Former Tennessee runner Anthoney Famiglietti earned runner-up honors with a time of 8:17.91 and Atlanta Olympian Robert Gary grabbed the last spot with 8:19.46.
“With me being so young and inexperienced is a credit to Coach McDonnell for getting me ready and calming me down,” Lincoln said. “He made sure I stuck to the business on the track. I changed up my plan a little bit since the pace was so fast. I waited until about 600 to go to take the lead. Tonight was about making the team. Coach told me before hand, to treat it like a heat to get make it to the Olympics Games. The top three was the most important tonight.”
“He ran a real smart race,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “He was always in the top two or three and never got farther back than three. We had several different plans and he executed the right one in the end. To compete in the Olympics he’ll have to go up against some tough guys, but I wouldn’t put it past him (to make the finals). He’s a young guy and he has a good shot.”
The four-time NCAA champion made UA history in the progress and became the first American to make an Olympic team in the steeplechase. The only other Arkansas athlete to go to the Games in the event was Espen Borge when he represented Norway in 1988. Lincoln also became Arkansas’ 24th Olympian.
“I’m elated to make the team,” Lincoln said. “Everything worked out great and I’m very happy.”
Lincoln will face two qualifying rounds in Athens, Greece. Prior to traveling to the Games he will compete in three races in Europe to continue his training. He will run in open 1,500 and 3,000-meter races. He will not take to the track for another steeplechase until two weeks before the Olympics start. The opening ceremonies are on August 13 and the first steeplechase competition is on August 21.
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