American Galen Rupp, of the University of Oregon, and Canadian and University of Wisconsin star Mohammed Ahmed were among the runners lined up Saturday night for the men’s 10,000 meters final in Rio.
When the race was over, Rupp had finished 5th, with a time of 27:08.92. Ahmed finished 32nd, at 29:32.84.
It wasn't the first Olympic match-up for the two former All-Americans, who faced one another in the 2012 London Games, where Rupp earned a silver medal with a time of 27:30.90, less than a second behind his training partner, Great Britain’s Mo Farah, who took the gold with a time of 27:30.42.
Farah won gold again on Saturday.
Rupp, one of the favorites going into Rio, also competed in the 2008 Beijing Games, where his time of 27:36.99 was good for 13th place.
Ahmed finished a disappointing 18th in London, coming in at 28:13.91, considerably slower than his personal best of 27:34.64.
Both Rupp and Ahmed enjoyed highly successful collegiate careers.
The 30-year-old Rupp was the NCAA Outdoor champion for the Ducks in 2009, winning both the 5,000 meters, which he won with a time of 14:04.12, and the 10,000 meters, which he ran in 28:21.45. The same year he added NCAA Indoor titles in the 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters, and in 2008 he was the NCAA Cross Country champion. His efforts in 2009 earned him the inaugural Bowerman Award, named for legendary University of Oregon coach Bill Bowerman.
Bowerman, who coached the Ducks from 1949 until 1972, helmed four NCAA team championship squads, 22 individual NCAA champions, and 51 All-Americans, as well as 31 Olympians, 12 American record holders, and 16 sub-four minute milers. In total, the Oregon men’s program has tallied four indoor, seven outdoor and six cross country championships.
Ahmed, 25, was an 11-time All-American in track and cross country at Wisconsin, where he won first-team All-America honors in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the same NCAA championships in 2014, good enough to earn him Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year honors. His time of 27:34.64 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in April of 2012 in Palo Alto, California, broke the 36-year-old Big Ten record in the event. Ahmed’s efforts helped lead the Badgers to three Big Ten track titles and four Big Ten cross country championships, as well as 2011 NCAA cross country crown. The Wisconsin men's program also won the 2007 indoor track and field championship.
Rupp will also compete in the marathon on August 21. His marathon coach, Oregon alumnus Alberto Salazar, won the New York Marathon in 1980, 1981 and 1982, when he also added a Boston Marathon crown. Salazar finished 15th in his lone Olympic appearance in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.