44-Year-Old Marathon Runner to Compete at Tokyo Olympics 2021 for USA

Published 06/30/2021, 4:08 AM EDT
Jun 20, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; Trayvon Bromell (center) defeats Micah Williams (left) and Fred Kerley to win the 100m in 9.80 during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Abdi Abdirahman is a marathon runner and will represent the USA at the Tokyo Olympics 2021. At 44, Abdirahman became the oldest American runner to qualify for the Olympics. He still has an inner fire and urges to finally reach the Olympic podium and he aims to do that in Tokyo.

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With his age well over 40, Abdirahman has a lot of critics against him. But despite his age, he has managed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in the track & field trials.

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He came third in the trials while being just 0.01 seconds behind second-placed and 32-year-old, Jake Riley and 0.82 seconds behind the first-placed and 35-year-old, Galen Rupp. With his American counterparts being much younger than him, his time is very respectable.

“People counted me out. They never thought I was going to make the Olympic team. They thought I was too old. I was past my prime a long time (ago). And I’m glad they say that, because they just motivate me. They give me that little fire,” Abdirahman said.

Abdi Abdirahman will compete at his fifth Olympics at Tokyo Olympics 2021

Like many Abdirahman also ran track races in the early stages of his career. At the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, Abdirahman ran the 10,000m race but never came close to a podium spot.

In 2008, he won the 10,000m Olympic trials, however, couldn’t translate that into a podium spot. From the 2012 London Olympics, Abdirahman went from 10,000m to marathon.

But he had to stop midway because of a knee injury. For the 2016 Olympics, he didn’t take part in the trials and now at the Tokyo Olympics, he qualified to represent the USA for the fifth time in the Olympics.

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“You can ask me that question again next year, in 2022. When I get to the starting line, I don’t look at myself like a 40-plus-year-old running against young guys.

“No. I’m an athlete. I want to make a team. I want to represent my country. That’s the one thing I have in mind,” Abdirahman said.

Abdirahman wants a podium spot but it will be tough. There are a lot more competitors who are much ahead than. Yet the veteran is not deterred and aims to extend his Olympic career even further.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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