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Bernard Lagat Begins Quest for First Olympic Gold

Bernard Lagat Begins Quest for First Olympic Gold
Bernard Lagat Begins Quest for First Olympic Gold

Bernard Lagat makes his debut at the U.S. Olympic Trials today with one thing on his mind - Olympic gold.

Lagat will take part in the preliminaries of the 5000 meters, lining up alongside the likes of Lopez Lomong and Chris Derrick.

Lagat has among the most accomplished careers in the history of track and field. Lagat has six world outdoor medals and two Olympic medals to his name - yet is missing the elusive Olympic gold medal.

Lagat won a bronze medal in the 1500 meters in his first Olympic appearance in 2000. Four years later in Athens, he upgraded to a silver medal, narrowly losing to Hicham El Guerrouj in an epic final 100 meter sprint.

Lagat headed into the 2008 Games as a favorite in the 1500 and 5000 meters having won gold medals in both events at the Osaka World Championships a year earlier. It also marked the first occasion he would represent the United States at the Olympics.

Beijing, however, turned out to be a disappointment for Lagat. He suffered an Achilles tendon injury just weeks before the Games that hampered his final preparations and a viral infection prior to the beginning of competition. Lagat failed to make the final in the 1500 meters and finished well back in ninth in the 5000 meters.

Lagat has declared this to be his final Olympic Trials, making London the 37 year old's final chance to achieve Olympic glory. Even though he is missing that one accomplishment, Lagat is not putting pressure on himself to win gold.

"My motivation in my running is the good feeling of being on the podium," Lagat told reporters at the USOC Media Summit in May. "Of course I'm going for the win, but whether I'm third, second or first, that's the best feeling."
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