Track’s Leo Manzano ready to improve on ‘08 Olympics
As part of USA TODAY Sports' "100 Olympic hopefuls in 100 Days" series, prospective U.S. Olympians give their thoughts on the Games in their own words.
By Michael Florek, USA Today
Leo Manzano's first trip to the Olympics ended when he didn't make the final of the men's 1,500 meters.
He finished a disappointing 11th in his semifinal heat.
But the experience was memorable in that his parents made their first trip overseas to see him compete.
"My dad was a big hit with the Chinese people," Manzano said. "He's a big cowboy, so he took his cowboy hat to China. He kept getting stopped and, 'Hey, can you take a picture?' I guess the Chinese people had only seen cowboy hats in movies."
Manzano moved to Marble Falls, Texas, from Mexico when he was four. At 23, he qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics after placing second at the trials behind Bernard Lagat.
The two-time NCAA champion from the University of Texas says he has matured, which has led to what he calls his "best training in a very long time."
He'll face two of the USA's top 1,500 runners at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York on June 9. Lagat, a two-time Olympic medalist in the event, and Matthew Centrowitz, who won bronze at last year's world championships, are scheduled to race.
Then Manzano will compete in the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., to try to qualify for London. The men's 1,500 begins June 28.
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