Aug. 12, 2016

by Tony Jones

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame track & field alumna Molly Huddle (’06) set a new American record time in the 10,000-meter run during the fastest ever heat in the distance on the opening day of track competition Friday at the 2016 Olympics.

Huddle crossed the finish line in 30:13.17 to place sixth in the 10,000m final, blowing well past her winning time of 31:41.62 in July at the 2016 United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. The previous top U.S. time in the event, a 30:22.22 effort by Shalane Flanagan, occurred at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Huddle made her second career Olympic appearance in Rio de Janeiro after placing 11th (15:20.29) in the 5,000m at the 2012 London Games. She had also qualified for the 5K in Rio after finishing as a double champion at the U.S. Olympic Trials (15:05.01), but chose to focus on the 10K at the Rio Games.

Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia shattered the world and Olympic record with a time of 29:17.45 to take the 10,000m gold medal. Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot was the silver medalist with a time of 29:32.53, and Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba (29:42.56) claimed the bronze medal.

Another Notre Dame track & field alumna, Margaret Bamgbose (’16), is set to begin competition representing Nigeria in the women’s 400m dash on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.