Joe Klecker, a native of Minnetonka, Minnesota, placed sixteenth in the Olympic 10,000 metres.
The former Hopkins standout hung in the centre of the 27-runner pack early. The race was held in stifling heat and humidity, and he fell behind as a result.
J. Klecker Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Joe Klecker tried to get himself ready for the challenges ahead. Klecker, preparing for the men’s 10,000-meter event at the Olympic Games, completed his final exercises in the middle of the day when the temperature was highest, reflecting the sticky, steamy nature of the Tokyo summer.
That strategy was no match for what Klecker’s partner Woody Kincaid dubbed “next-level heat.” Klecker, a native of Minnetonka and a graduate of Hopkins High School, placed sixteenth under trying circumstances on Friday. As the second American, Kincaid placed fourth, and Grant Fisher, the third American, placed fifth.
The first four finishers at the Olympic Stadium races were all African. Selemon Barega of Ethiopia won in 27 minutes, 43.22 seconds, with Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo second and third. Barega, the defending world champion, won the 10,000 metres by breaking away from Cheptegei on the final lap.
The race was the opening ceremony for the track and field events at the Tokyo Olympics.
The weather during the Olympics has lived up to Tokyo’s reputation for persistent heat and humidity. At 8:30 p.m. Japan Time, the temperature was still 77° with 93% humidity, and afternoon rainstorms gave the atmosphere a tropical feel.
Klecker started out near the middle of the group of 27 runners, but he faded to the rear as the rest of the field pulled away. He completed in a timing of 28:14.18.
“Klecker remarked, “There are physiological limits to how much humidity you can tolerate.” “I felt relatively well equipped for the humidity. Seriously, that was one challenging competition.
“As far as I was concerned, I never gave up the fight. Never did I consider giving up the race and just stopping to rest. The thought of competing for my country gave me a great deal of drive to succeed.
After Klecker’s Sunday arrival in Tokyo, he’ll have had around five days to adjust to the local climate. He tried to think about what his fitness level would be under perfect conditions, then calculate how the heat would affect his time.
His goal was to place in the top 15th. In his own words, Klecker says he “put my nose to the grindstone early so I wouldn’t get left behind and lose ground on the leaders. In retrospect, he wondered if the pace had been too rapid.
Klecker reflected on his effort, saying, “I was thrilled with how I pushed all the way to the finish.” “But even if I had gotten 14th, I would have been satisfied; I got 16th. So, yes, I am mildly dissatisfied. Given how well my training has been going, I was certain that I could compete at a higher level.
Fisher pointed out that all three Americans were making their first appearances at such a high level of competition, and their first time running in a stadium of that size. Two of them, Klecker and Fisher, are only 24 years old, while Kincaid is 28.
Klecker noted that older runners have an advantage in the 10,000 metres, and he expressed optimism that the three first-time Olympians could bring home medals for the United States. That eased their minds a little on a night that was otherwise very unsettling.
“Even the men that came in first, second, and third probably didn’t feel great about how they ran, Fisher said. “In my case, emphatically not. Thanks for read our Article J. Klecker Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.