Matthew Centrowitz Wins First Gold for U.S. in 1500 meters Since 1908

Way back in the 1908 Olympics, held in London that year, American runner Mel Sheppard won the Gold Medal in the men’s 1500 meters. Since that time, the U.S. won seven medals in the event, none of which were gold. That long dry spell came to an end on August 20th, 2016 as Matthew Centrowitz won the gold in 3:50.0 at the Rio Games, defeating silver medalist Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria and bronze winner Nicholas Willis of New Zealand by less than a second. Centrowitz had been fourth at the 2012 games.

Mel Sheppard was one of the better middle distance runners of his time. At those 1908 games, Sheppard participated in three events, and took home gold medals in all three. He upset the favorite, Great Britain’s Harold Wilson, in the 1500 with a time of 4:03.4, tying the Olympic record. Sheppard won the 800 meters in 1:52.8, setting a new world record. He also won gold in something called the 1600 Meter Medley Relay, in which the first two runners ran 200 meters, the next one ran 800 meters, and the final runner ran 800 meters. Sheppard ran the 800 anchor leg, and the U.S. took the gold over Great Britain and Canada. The 1600 Meter Medley Relay was only run at those 1908 Games.

Mel Sheppard winning the 1500 meters at 1908 London Olympics

Mel Sheppard winning the 1500 meters at 1908 London Olympics

Sheppard also participated in the 1912 Games in Stockholm, winning the silver in the 800 meters, and winning gold as a member of the 4 X 400 relay team.

So Matthew Centrowitz wins the first U.S. Gold in the 1500 since 1908. It just so happens that 1908 was the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. The Cubs are one of the favorites to win it all this year, and are in first place in the N.L. Central. If one 108 year drought came to an end, is it a sign that this is finally the Cubs’ year?

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