Aug. 4, 2012
• Results | 10,000m Replay
MADISON, Wis. -- Even after 25 laps and 28 minutes of up-and-down racing on the track at Olympic Stadium in London, there was no separating a pair of Badgers.
After starting their race alongside one another, Wisconsin junior Mohammed Ahmed and 2005 UW graduate Matt Tegenkamp crossed the finish line separated by less than three seconds in what became a fast, yet tactical, 10,000 meters at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Ahmed, making his Olympic debut, came home 18th for Canada in a time of 28 minutes, 13.91 seconds. Tegenkamp, competing in his second Games, was just behind in 19th for the United States in 28:16.26.
“It was a lot of fun,” Ahmed said. “The atmosphere was amazing. The Olympics are so overwhelming.”
The fact that Great Britain’s Mo Farah won gold on his home soil added to the atmosphere. Farah won with a fantastic kick over the race’s final lap to clock in at 27:30.42, with American Galen Rupp claiming silver in 27:30.90 – and becoming the first U.S. athlete to medal in the 10,000 since 1964.
Those times are well within the capabilities of Ahmed, who ran 27:34.64 to qualify for the Olympics – and break the 36-year-old Big Ten record in the event -- in April.
Still, the up-and-down pace of the race, which included a blistering final 5000 meters, was a surprise even for Tegenkamp, a veteran of international competition.
“To close the way they did, it was brutal and not unexpected,” Tegenkamp said. “That was not even a kick, that was a grind.
“That was a 5K race within a 10, and a championship 5.”
Ahmed held his own over the second half of the race, but simply couldn’t keep pace with the leaders down the stretch.
“I went out very slow, but then I got after it,” Ahmed said. “With eight laps to go, I lost contact (with the leaders) and got caught in no-man’s land.”
For Ahmed, the way the race played out was all part of the learning process as he eyes a return to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“You can never be satisfied, but I learned a lot and want to become more consistent at this level,” said Ahmed, the first active UW athlete to compete in the Olympics since 1996. “It’s a good stepping stone towards 2016.”