Ezekiel Kemboi won the gold medal with a time of 8:05.81, Brimin Kipruto was earned bronze (8:06.11) and Paul Koech was third (8:06.94).
The race started out at a good pace and Lincoln was running in third place during the first 400 meters. After the second lap he slipped to seventh where he rode behind the front pack of competitors. Sixteen hundred meters into the race the dominating Kenyans extended their leads over the rest of the field, while Lincoln maintained his position. With two laps remaining Lincoln tried to surge to improve his placing, but was unable to keep up the pace. Lincoln was hoping to surpass his personal best time 8:15.02, but in the end he was still satisfied with his Olympic experience.
“It could have better, but could have been worse,” Lincoln said. “I was going out for a PR. That’s how it goes sometimes. It was the one time I really wish I had paid attention to my splits, because I was on pace for a new personal best if I hadn’t been hurting in the last kilometer.
“I wasn’t as comfortable at that pace, but I will be next time,” Lincoln said. “I did a lot of stupid things. I was clearing the hurdles by a foot and wasting energy. I couldn’t steady myself or stay even. I found myself going back and fourth. I think that had a lot to do with not getting a new PR. I was happy to make it here and have a shot.”
Many of Lincoln’s friends and family were on hand to watch the race. His parents, Ivy and Jacqui Lincoln, enjoyed second row seats as they cheered with American flags for their son.
“It was wonderful to watch him,” Jacqui Lincoln said. “It’s been a surreal experience. We cheer for him just like it’s any other track meet, but we sit here and realize we’re at the Olympics and we’re half way around the world. We’re terribly proud and happy for him. It’s something that he’ll talk about for the rest of his life.”
“It was pretty intense,” Lincoln said. “I was really emotional all day. Before the race started I wasn’t really nervous, but I was in awe of everything. That was what was so emotional, my parents were right there. They were so happy to see me in the finals. I also saw Jennifer (wife) up in the second deck. I knew everyone in Arkansas were right there with me. It was a great emotion and a great experience.”
Alistair Cragg will see his first Olympic competition on Wednesday when he lines up in the 5,000 meters for Ireland. The first qualifying round is scheduled to start at 7:55 p.m. (Athens time).