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Is Rio Possible?
“I’m very proud of myself to finish fourth. Fourth place at my last Olympics, I’ll take it anytime,” Keflezighi told reporters moments after finishing the 2012 London Olympic Marathon. His statement may no longer be true.
Each and every day for the last 365 days, the question “Are you going to run in Rio?” has come up in one way, shape or form, referring to the 2016 Olympics to be held in Brazil’s second largest city. Keflezighi isn’t sick and tired of the question, as some athletes may be. Instead, the incessant inquiry has opened his mind up to thoughts of trying to make the 2016 Olympic Marathon team.
“To go to the next Olympics is a thought now,” he said with another smile. “Ever since finishing fourth at the Olympic Games and having people talk about it every day, people are like, ‘What’s next? Rio, Rio!’ It’s tough. Beijing was not the way I wanted to go out [having not qualified for Team USA], but London is the way I want to go out. Now to rethink and evaluate, can I make the team or not at 41 is the question.”
If he does make the team at 41, he would be the oldest American ever to run in an Olympic Marathon, according to Running USA, a running industry trade group.
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“I’m running well especially in the shorter races and I think that should duplicate in the marathon. But it’s an idea I have and I’m contemplating it,” he said.
The main influence on Keflezighi’s decision will be his family. His wife, Yordanos, and daughters Sara, Fiyori, and Yohana are the ones who will help him decide whether Rio is in the cards.
“My wife thinks I should probably, you know …” he said, not completing the sentence. “She sees how hard I work and how committed I am and she probably thinks why shouldn’t you retire at the end of the year. But we’ll see. We’re still playing it year to year.
“My own personal motivation would be my daughters. The youngest one [Yohana] is three and doesn’t remember London. If anything, that would be something she has inside of her that she’ll see me participate in the Olympics and see what happens.”