Symmonds Wins First Round Heat in 800-Meter Run at London Olympics

Advances to Semifinals Scheduled for Tuesday at 11:55 a.m. (Pacific Time)

LONDON, ENGLAND -- Willamette University graduate Nick Symmonds ('06), who competed for the Bearcats in track and field from 2003 through 2006, won his first round heat in the 800-meter run at the London Olympics on Monday, Aug. 6, sending him into the semifinals for the second Olympics in a row.

Symmonds, who also reached the semifinals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, will run in this year's semifinals on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The finals are set for Thursday, Aug. 9.

In his first round heat on Monday, Symmonds registered a time of 1:45.91. He was fourth for nearly all of the first lap and remained in fourth as the runners entered the back stretch on the second lap.

During the back stretch Symmonds began his initial kick, moving into third as the race entered the curve. He began to surge toward the lead as the race entered the final straight away. He moved into first with about 30 yards remaining and won the race in a close finish.

Symmonds and the next three runners in the heat were within 0.12 of each other and the top five runners finished within 0.38.

Geoffrey Harris of Canada placed second behind Symmonds in 1:45.97, while Adam Kszczot from Poland took third in 1:45.99. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France was fourth at 1:46.03 and Yuriy Borzakovskiy from Russia was fifth at 1:46.29.

The top three finishers in each of the seven preliminary heats advanced to the finals, along with the runners earning the next three fastest times. Symmonds, Harris and Kszczot claimed automatic bids, while Bosse and Borzakovskiy garnered two of the three at-large berths.

Rounding out Symmonds' heat were Andreas Bube of Denmark in sixth place at 1:46.40 and Manuel Antonio from Angola in seventh at 1:52.54. Brice Etes of Monaco was disqualified.

The overall favorite in the 800-meter run, David Rudisha from Kenya, won the second heat in 1:45.90. Symmonds will be joined in the semifinals by a second American runner, Duane Solomon, who won the seventh heat in 1:46.05.

Other heat winners were Nijel Amos of Botswana in the first heat at 1:45.90, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan in the third heat at 1:45.52, Hamada Mohamed of Egypt in the fifth heat in 1:48.05, and Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia in the sixth heat at 1:47.34.

Joining Bosse and Borzakovskiy with an at-large bid into the semifinals was Andy Gonzalez of Cuba. Gonzalez took fourth place in the third heat with a time of 1:46.24.

Khadevis Robinson of the United States was fourth in the first heat with a time of 1:47.17. He did not advance to the semifinals.

Symmonds won seven NCAA Division III national championships during his collegiate career at Willamette. He earned four NCAA titles in the 800-meter run and attained three NCAA titles in the 1,500-meter run.

Olympics Track and Field

Men 's 800-Meter Run
   Aug. 7, 11:55 a.m. (PDT)
   Aug. 9, 12:00 p.m. (PDT)

NBC Sports Track and Field
Nick Symmonds, shown here after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials, won his first round heat at the London Olympics on Monday (Photo courtesy Statesman Journal).

Nick Symmonds, shown here after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials, won his first round heat at the London Olympics on Monday (Photo courtesy Statesman Journal).