Schul runs ’em down in the 5,000 meters

Bob Schul is the only American runner to win the 5,000 meters in the Olympic games. He did it at Tokyo in 1964. Here’s the way I remember it, for I watched it on TV back then.

Many Americans probably remember that American Billy Mills came out of nowhere to win the 10,000 meters at the 1964 games. That was big time news because Mills was a relative unknown and Europeans owned the distance races from 5,000 and up. Schul held about the same status in the American mind as Mills before the 5,000 meter final was run.

Schul was not the favorite in the race although he was given an outside shot. Schul’s normal race strategy was to hang back far off the front runners’ pace and then kick hard during the last 200 meters. He deployed that strategy in the 5,000 meter final. With 200 meters to go in the race, Frenchman Michel Jazy and race favorite was far enough ahead of Schul to make you believe Schul had no chance. But Schul started his kick and ran him down at about the 50 meter mark to win the race. I hope I haven’t gotten the facts too far wrong.

I still get totally stoked each time I recall that race. I have no idea why I recollect it now.

Published in: on November 16, 2007 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  

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