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Korir Secures Olympic Spot After Field Expansion

Published on June 19 by Anna

Leonard Korir's Olympic dream is back on track! After placing third at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in February, his path to Paris seemed uncertain. However, a surprise expansion of the Olympic Marathon field by World Athletics has opened the door for him to compete on August 10th.

For four long months, Korir faced an agonizing wait. Initially, the field for the Olympic Marathon was capped at 80. While Korir secured third place at the Trials, only the top two finishers, Conner Mantz and Clayton Young, had previously run the qualifying time. This meant Korir wouldn't automatically qualify unless he secured a high enough world ranking or another American earned a qualifying spot.

On June 4th, World Athletics threw runners a curveball. Without explanation, they expanded the men's field, adding four spots based on world rankings. One of these spots went to the United States, giving Korir the chance he needed. World Athletics also added a "universality" spot for Mongolia, ensuring wider representation in the race.

The exact reason behind the expansion remains unclear, as World Athletics hasn't responded to inquiries. However, USATF officials did advocate for more spots, and their efforts ultimately paid off for Korir. With the field expanded, he can now focus on his training and prepare to race for Olympic glory in Paris.