Mile News

7 Surprising Things That Happen After Winning an Olympic Medal

December 08, 2016

"The treasured, powerful symbol of athletic success was like hiding in my suitcase in a bundle of socks.”

By Erin Strout, Runner's World

Team USA’s track & field athletes are always expected to do well at the Olympics—and usually they tally a significant number of medals across the sprints and jumps. At the Rio Games in August, though, it was the American distance runners who took the world by surprise, earning seven podium positions in the 800 meters and up, two more medals in those events than the previous four Olympics combined.

The seven top distance athletes came home to celebrations, honors and appearances that commemorated their historic performances. Since then, they’ve also had time to let their accomplishments sink in and enjoy the fun that comes from reaching the pinnacle achievement of a pro runner’s career. There have been celebrity phone calls, unimpressed elementary school children, and recollections of the powerful emotions that set in on the Olympic track.

Here’s a taste of the memories and what life has been like since the closing ceremony:

Matthew Centrowitz
Event: 1500 meters
Medal: Gold
Significance: The first time in 108 years the U.S. won the event at the Olympics

Race Day Recollections: The day of his final round, Centrowitz, 27, received an email from legend Jim Ryun, who won silver in the 1500 meters at the 1968 Olympics, which he read on the way to the track that evening.

“I found that to be really neat,” Centrowitz said. “He said good luck and that he and his wife were praying and thinking of me. He was going to watch the race and wished me the best. He shared a Bible verse with me.”

Star-Struck Coach: The most significant post-race moment came on the victory lap, when Centrowitz spotted his sister and dad. Shortly after that he saw his coach, Alberto Salazar, whose reaction was not what the new Olympic champion was expecting.

“Oh man, I don’t think I’ve seen Alberto like that excited in a long, long time,” Centrowitz said. “He asked to see the medal, he asked to hold it and take a picture. Alberto never gets like that…he was into it. He’s normally pretty laid back, nothing really fazes him. That was pretty funny to see—he was all giddy about the medal.”

Continue reading, also includes Paul Chelimo, Jenny Simpson, Galen Rupp, Emma Coburn, Evan Jager & Clayton Murphy, at:

Tags: rio 2016 (54) , olympics (67) , matthew centrowitz (132) , jenny simpson (138) , emma coburn (22)

Facebook Comments

Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

Become a Mile Maniac member or a BBTM sponsor today! Join us, and go Mile!

Join Us

Thanks for joining the movement and being a Mile Maniac. We'll keep you up to-date with our Mile wires as well as exclusive contests and opportunities. Help us spread the word by sharing our site and joining us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!