There were 109 runners that toed the start line for the 2012 Olympic marathon Sunday morning, and only one of them had previously won a medal in the event -- American Meb Keflezighi, who took home the silver at Athens in 2004. But during the pre-race introductions, during which they announced 10 of the favorites by name, Meb, the 2009 New York City Marathon winner, was left out.
Even Ryan Hall, the American teammate that Meb beat at the U.S. Olympic trials in January, was introduced, but Keflezighi's name never came across the speakers. And it hurt the 37-year old, who was running in his final Olympic marathon.
"To accomplish what I have accomplished, to be a silver medalist, to be a New York City Marathon winner, and not be introduced to the crowd made me very sad," Keflezighi said, his voice cracking as he choked back tears. "This is the USA and we're in an English-speaking country. To accomplish what I have accomplished...of the 109 runners here, none of them had a gold medal, a silver medal or a bronze medal. I have that. To not get introduced, shame on the IAAF on that."
Perhaps motived by that slight, Meb went out and finished in fourth place. Meanwhile, Hall and the third member of Team USA, Abdi Abdirahman, were both forced to withdraw around mile 11 due to injuries.
"It's hard running with anger, but nobody can stop you," Keflezighi said.
"Everybody works hard to accomplish such a thing and I am very proud of myself and our country to finish fourth," Keflezighi said. "It's not where you want to be sometimes, but fourth place at my last Olympics - I'll take it anytime."
Meb is awesome, always and forever.
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