Clayton Murphy celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the men's 800-meter at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on Aug. 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
RIO DE JANEIRO – Clayton Murphy wasn’t alive the last time the United States won a medal in the 800-meter.
Murphy, 21, ended a 24-year medal drought when he won the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Johnny Gray won the bronze medal at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, taking an early lead and holding on.
Murphy, the U.S. champion, had the opposite strategy. Although a bit bottled up on the inside with about 250 meters to go, he used a blistering kick on the homestretch to overtake Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France, who was fading on the inside.
With a personal best time of 1 minute, 42.93 seconds, Murphy finished behind defending champion and world-record holder David Rudisha of Kenya (1:42.15) and Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria (1:42.61).
Teammate Boris Berian was eighth with a time of 1:46.15.
Since Gray’s medal, U.S. men had not been able to make the podium in the event, though they had come close.
In London four years ago, Duane Solomon finished fourth and Nick Symmonds fifth in a race won by Rudisha in his world-record time of 1:40.91.
It has been quite a two-run stretch for Murphy. He was fresh off his 1,500-meter title for Akron when turned pro, then won his first national title.