Marblehead's Shalane Flanagan celebrates with the US flag after capturing the bronze in the 10,000 meters. (AP)
BEIJING -- When Marblehead’s Shalane Flanagan crossed the finish line in the women’s 10,000 earlier this morning (ET) at the National Stadium, she thought she won a bronze medal. She knew she had a new American record with a time of 30:22.22, but she wasn’t sure if she had captured third or fourth place. She needed a spectator to confirm it.
Once Flanagan got the word, she was overjoyed.
“I thought maybe I was third but I can’t celebrate until I really know,” said Flanagan. “I feel fortunate to have it all come together.”
To understand the historical accomplishment, you need to look back at past Olympic medal winners. In track races longer than 800 meters, Flanagan’s bronze medal is only the second US Olympic medal since 1984. That goes for men’s and women’s competition. The other medal was Lynn Jenning’s bronze in the 10,000 in 1992.