EUGENE (Oregon): Galen Rupp ran down favourite Bernard Lagat to win a spine-tingling 5,000 metres and secure the first men's long distance double at the US Olympic trials for 60 years on Thursday.
Rupp, who also won the 10,000m at the trials, followed his coach's race plan to near perfection and surged past former world champion Lagat in the last five metres to the delight of the crowd at the stadium of his former university.
"Bernard is a great closer, I was just trying to keep pushing," said Rupp of his breakthrough finish against the Kenyan-born Lagat, who holds the American record at the distance.
The 26-year-old had never previously beaten Lagat but with a burst of late energy, the Oregon native hauled in Lagat to win in 13 minutes, 22.67 seconds.
The last man to win a 5,000-10,000 double at the US trials was Curtis Stone in 1952.
Rupp, never known for his strong finish, also shattered late American icon Steve Prefontaine's 1972 meet record by 0.13 seconds.
Lagat finished less than a stride behind Rupp in 13:22.82. Lopez Lomong claimed third in 13:24.47. All three qualify for London.
US record holder Brad Walker cleared 5.67 metres to win the pole vault on the crisp, damp day in Eugene.
No one was more ecstatic with their performance, however, than Lance Brooks, who won the men's discus with his final heave of 65.15 metres.
The 28-year-old, who once worked seven concurrent jobs to support himself, would not have had the qualifying standard necessary to make the US squad for London without the throw.
"I knew I had to calm down for my last throw," said Brooks. "I just had to relax."
Long jumper turned sprinter Tianna Madison cruised through the rain to the day's fastest time as qualifying began in a highly anticipated women's 200m.
Tianna, the 2005 world long jump champion, clocked 22.57 seconds to win her heat as she worked to make the US team for London in a second event. She was second in the 100 metres earlier in the trials.
World 100m champion Carmelita Jeter, Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh were also among those who advanced.
Two-time Olympic silver medallist Allyson (22.82) and training partner Jeneba (22.90), the two sprinters involved in a controversial dead heat for third place in the 100m, posted the sixth and eighth fastest qualifying times.
The sprinters must decide by tomorrow whether they would like a runoff or a coin flip to break their 100 metres tie. Reuters