Matthew Centrowitz, who won the 1,500m in the 2016 Rio Olympics in a tactical fashion, shared on Instagram that he would be going after Alan Webb’s American mile record of 3:46.91 last Saturday at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. After starting off at American record pace and coming around the half-mile mark around 1:51.6, he faded over the last 800m, only covering the distance in 1:57.6, for a mile time of 3:49.26.
Although he did not achieve the American record, he beat his previous personal best at the mile distance of 3:50.53 from 2014. This is a sign of things to come for the 31-year-old as he now focuses on defending his 1,500m gold medal in Tokyo against a strong field. Centrowitz issued an apology on Instagram after the race, stating,”I found myself saying sorry to those in attendance, sorry for not giving them an American record that I had promised.”
Many viewers on the livestream were asking why Centrowitz would run this gruelling race 10 days out from the first round of 1,500m heats. His Bowerman Track Club teammate Evan Jager, who was commentating on Centrowitz’s stream, explained, “Typically in our system, we would do a big last workout 10 days out from our big race.”
Centrowitz had more than 1,000 spectators come out to Jesuit High School in Portland to cheer him on during his race and more than 10,000 viewers on his Instagram Live of the event. He was honoured by the support of the track and field community and described this race as his dream sendoff for his 1,500m in Tokyo.
A few days after his event he shared on his Instagram story that he will be taking part in the men’s mile at the Prefontaine Classic (Aug. 20-21), where he will most likely again give Alan Webb’s 3:46 American record another shot. The Pre Classic will be the first Diamond League meet after the Tokyo Olympics, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The Men’s 1,500m heats in Tokyo will begin on Aug. 3 at 9:00 p.m E.T, with the final taking place on Aug. 7 at 8:40 p.m E.T.