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Local Olympics Spotlight: Can Elmira, NY Native Molly Huddle End Medal Drought for American Women’s Distance Running

Molly Huddle (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Molly Huddle (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)


Elmira, New York native Molly Huddle is looking to end the American women’s medal drought in distance races when she competes in Rio this August.

Huddle punched her ticket to her second straight Olympics when she won the 10,000m race at the Olympic Trials. That was after she had won the 5,000m, making her the first woman ever to win both races at the same U.S. Olympic Trials. However, Huddle decided to only focus on the 10,000, so she dropped the 5,000 from her docket.

The victories came in her fourth Olympic Trials. She qualified for the London Olympics in the 5,000m, but struggled in the race, finishing eleventh. In the 2015 world championships, she nearly won a bronze medal, but celebrated far too early, allowing American teammate Emily Infeld take the medal away from her. That was after she had finished sixth in the 5,000m in the 2013 world championships, which was the highest finish ever for an American woman on that stage.

Huddle is American women’s best hope for medaling in the upcoming Olympics, but even she seems unlikely to break the streak of lackluster performances. She currently holds the American record in the 5,000 and 10,000, but her personal best in the 10,000, which she posted in 2014, would only be the eighth-best in the world, this year. She would have to far exceed the best that she has ever accomplished in her career in order to even sniff the podium. The decision to race in the ten instead of the five will be seen more as preparation towards her much anticipated marathon debut in New York in November rather than actual medal contention.

However, despite a pedigree that pales in comparison to her competitors, she did recently win the New York half-marathon. If an American woman is to medal again in the 10,000m in Rio, it will be Huddle, who is prepared to exceed expectations and make an even bigger name for herself.

While a senior in Elmira, Huddle’s school didn’t have a cross-country team, so she ran as a one girl team with her father as a coach. When she graduated, she attended Notre Dame, and dominated the running scene there. She earned ten All-America honors as well as setting the Notre Dame record in the 5,000m. She currently lives and trains in Providence, Rhode Island.



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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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