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Team USA's last hope for men's individual track gold came up short on Saturday.
Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen set an Olympic record at 3:28.32 to secure gold in the 1,500-meter final in Tokyo. Kenya's Timothy Cheruyiot secured silver and Great Britain's Josh Kerr finished third for bronze. U.S. runner Cole Hocker finished sixth with a time of 3:31.40.
Hocker was the last U.S. man to take the track in 10 events in Tokyo. None before him finished better than silver, meaning no U.S. man will win individual gold in track for the first time in the history of the modern Games that the U.S. competed in.
Before Tokyo, it took a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games to keep U.S. men from atop the track podium. Other than those Games, U.S. men won at least one gold in every Olympics since the birth of the modern Games in 1896 in Athens. They won at least two golds in all but three of those Games.
U.S. men are leaving Tokyo with four individual silver medals and two bronze.
Hocker's record pace bested by 5 others in historic final
To be clear, there's no reason for Hocker to hang his head. His 3:31.40 bested the previous Olympic record and put him on pace for a 3:47.0 mile, per the Indianapolis Star's David Woods. Saturday's race was run at a historic pace that just so happened to see five other runners also break the record ahead of Hocker. Kenya's Abel Kipsang finished fourth while Spain's Adel Mechaal finished fifth.
No, Hocker wasn't the reason the U.S men are going home without individual gold. He was just saddled with the burden of being the team's last hope on Saturday. And he ran the race of his life. It just so happens that five of his competitors did too.
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