Webb Makes U.S. Olympic Track Team

Posted: July 26, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

The sports commentators can’t stop talking about it. The way Mason student Alan Webb pulled away from the pack in the 1500-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials held earlier this month in Sacramento, Calif. The primal scream he let out after crossing the finish line. In fact, they had been speculating for weeks about the Reston, Va., native and his chances for ending what they are calling the Olympic “medal drought” in the mile.

An American hasn’t medalled in the mile since Jim Ryun won the silver in 1968, and many are pinning their hopes on Webb. The media frequently compares Webb to Ryun, and with good reason. While a senior at South Lakes High School in Reston, Webb broke Ryun’s 36-year-old prep record by two seconds, propelling him into the spotlight and a spot on the Late Show with David Letterman. Then, in June, Webb ran the fastest mile by an American on U.S. soil, breaking another of Ryun’s records.

Following his graduation from South Lakes, Webb enrolled at University of Michigan where he had a disappointing freshman season marked by injuries and an appendicitis. Afterwards, he returned to Northern Virginia to work with his high school coach, Scott Raczko, and signed a six-year contract with Nike that is reported to be worth $1.5 million. And he transferred to Mason, where he is attending part time.

When asked in an interview with Brandon Miles of the running web site MileStat.com how his classes at Mason were going, Webb commented, “I have only been going part time, so it is going to take me forever to graduate. But I don’t care. I am going to be running for a while, so I am not in a rush.”

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