LONDON -- Local Olympian Nick Symmonds ran a personal best time in the men’s 800 meters final Thursday at the London Olympic Games, but it was only good enough for fifth place.
“This was the deepest, fastest race in history," Symmonds said afterwards. "At Trials I said 1:43.9 would be good to win a medal. It wasn’t even good for last place.”
Spectators were treated to a dominating world record-setting performance by David Rudisha of Kenya, who pulled away from all competitors in the back straight and finished in a sizzling 1:40.91, breaking his own record of 1:41.01.
Rudisha blistering pace pushed all seven of his competitors to either personal-bests or national records.
The two Americans in the field, Duane Solomon (1:42.82) and Nick Symmonds (1:42.95) finished fourth and fifth respectively, both running personal best times. Those times ranked only behind Johnny Gray’s American record of 1:42.60 as the second- and third-fastest ever run by an American.
Silver medalist in the 800, 18-year-old Nijel Amos of Botswana, set a world junior record of 1:41.73.
“I can’t really put what we just saw into perspective,” Solomon told NBC afterwards. “Physically, I have nothing to compare what that felt like to.”
Symmonds finished in third place in the men’s 800 semifinals on Tuesday, qualifying him for the finals, but failed to secure a medal for the second time in four years.
Symmonds has dominated the event domestically but still seeks his first medal at an international championship. He won his third consecutive national title in 2010 but struggled on the European circuit, finishing sixth at the Diamond League in Paris and Monaco.
Symmonds qualified for his first Olympics at the 2008 trials in Eugene but failed to medal in Beijing.
He was a crowd favorite at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, having starred at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He now lives in Springfield, Oregon and trains under his coach Mark Rowland at the Oregon Track Club.
In October of 2011, Symmonds launched a Facebook group titled “I am tired of USATF and IAAF Crippling Our Sport,” in an effort to try and improve the marketing of track and field.
Symmonds also gained some extra attention after he got Paris Hilton to be his date for the Olympic Trials.
Complete coverage: London 2012 Olympics
Also: Follow @KGWOlympics on Twitter for the latest news on Olympians from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest