Manzano's victory in 1500m final earns him spot on second Olympic team
July 1, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. -- On the final day of the Olympic Track & Field Trials, Leo Manzano won the final of the 1500m to earn the opportunity to represent the United States at the Olympic Games for the second time in his career.
Manzano crossed the finish line in 3:35.75, nine tenths of a second ahead of hometown favorite Matthew Centrowitz, for his first national championship in the 1500m.
"This has been the best team that I've made without a doubt, just because of six years of work, pain and a lot of sacrifice to get to this moment," Manzano said. "I really didn't think I was going to be able to win this. I knew I had a chance, but it just always seemed so far. For some reason, I got it today."
In third place with 200 meters to go, Manzano began an impressive kick and found himself in a battle with Centrowitz for first place for the second-straight race. In Friday's semifinal, Centrowitz beat Manzano at the finish line by just three thousandths of a second. But in today's deciding race, it was Manzano who came out on top.
"I knew I needed to be patient, especially around the curve not to waste too much energy," Manzano said. "Matthew started kicking and I knew just to stay right on him. I just kept pulling through and next thing you knew, I won.
"The great thing about this race is that I think it puts me in a great position mentally, back to where I was in 2008 where I was just unstoppable," Manzano said. "If all goes well, that's what I'm going to be in London."
Coming into today's race, Manzano had been runner-up in the event four times at the U.S. Outdoor Championships, including his second-place finish at the 2008 Trials. With that second-place finish and today's Trials championship, Manzano remains the first and only Longhorn to qualify for the Olympic Games in the 1500m.
"What a great performance by Leo to not just win the Olympic Trials but represent the United States and represent The University of Texas," Texas head coach Bubba Thornton said. "Leo has been such a great ambassador for the university and to go to Oregon and perform the way he did, it was just a great effort tonight by Leo."
The Olympic Trials wraps up with three members of the Texas Men's Track & Field family earning places on Team USA. Manzano will be joined in London by fellow former Longhorn Trey Hardee (decathlon) and rising senior Marquise Goodwin (long jump).
Results: Sunday, July 1
Texas Longhorns at the 2012 London Olympics