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Running Community Mourns U.S., Peru Middle-Distance Runner David Torrence

By Karen Price | Aug. 29, 2017, 2:42 p.m. (ET)

David Torrence celebrates winning silver in the men's 5,000-meter at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games at the Pan Am Athletics Stadium on July 25, 2015 in Toronto.


The running community is mourning the death of former Cal-Berkeley standout, indoor American record holder and 2016 Peru Olympian David Torrence, who was found dead in an Arizona swimming pool on Monday at the age of 31.

USA Track & Field tweeted, “Devastating news. USATF sends its condolences to the family & friends of American indoor record holder David Torrence.”

Torrence, who was born in Japan and grew up in California, became a standout runner at Cal-Berkeley, and parlayed that into a successful pro career competing both for the U.S. and then Peru.

On the track, he was the 2009 U.S. indoor champion in the 3,000-meter, and later went on to a record-breaking 2014 season. After helping a U.S. team set an indoor world record in the 4x800 meter, Torrence set a new U.S. indoor record in the 1,000-meter with a time of 2:16.76. That record still stands. Also in 2014, Torrence helped the U.S. win a silver medal and set a U.S. record in the 4x1,500-meter at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas.

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The next year, Torrence won a silver medal competing for Team USA in the 5,000-meter at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

From 2009 to 2011, Torrence also won three USATF 1 Mile Road titles.

Paul Chelimo, the 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000-meter, tweeted, “I’m just shocked. Woke up from a nap only to hear David Torrence is dead. May he RIP.”

Gabriele Grunewald, the former national indoor champion in the 3,000-meter who represented the U.S. at the 2014 world indoor championships, tweeted, “I am absolutely broken hearing about David Torrence. One of the best humans I’ve ever met, I will miss him deeply.” 

Shortly after the Pan Am Games, Peruvian Olympic Committee president José Quiñones approached him about switching nationalities. Torrence, whose mother was born in Peru and has dual citizenship, competed for Peru in the 5,000-meter at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and finished 15th. Earlier this month, Torrence competed in the 800 and 1,500 for Peru at the world championships in London.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.


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David Torrence