NBC screen grab

Bernard Lagat, age 41, makes US Olympic team with a monster kick in winning the 5,000 meters

THE AGELESS BERNARD LAGAT is headed to Rio. The 41-year old CouGreat finished with a monster kick in the 5,000 meter final at the US Olympic trials, winning the race and punching his ticket to his fifth Olympics.

Lagat ran much of the race in the middle of the pack, as Oregon grad Galen Rupp opened up a 25 meter lead with less than two laps remaining.  But Lagat eventually caught Rupp and held off the rest of the challengers to win in 13:35.5.  Lagat clocked a 52-second final lap.  (Hassan Mead took second in 13:35.70 and Paul Chelimo finished in 13.35.92 in becoming the other two qualifiers for the US Olympic team in the 5,000).

Lagat was in sixth place when the final lap began and trailed the leader by more than 2 1/2 seconds.  According to FloTrack, this is the eighth time Lagat has won the U.S. Championship in the 5,000 meters in his storied career.

Earlier at the Olympic trials, Lagat dropped out of the 10,000 meters and was not among the favorites headed into the 5,000. 

Lagat has won bronze and silver medals at the Olympics, but never gold. He'll try to change that next month in Rio.

He took home the bronze in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the silver medal in the 1,500 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He also finished fourth in the 5000 meters at the 2012 Beijing Games.

Lagat was a nine-time track and field All-American and two-time cross country All-American at Washington State from 1996-99. He was named NCAA Indoor Male Athlete of the Year in 1999 and was a four-time Pac-10 champion.


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