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Bernard Lagat is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA. It will be his fourth Olympics, with the last three as a U.S. citizen. The one-time Kenyan is lauded as a master tactician in middle distance races and figures to contend for a medal in the 5000m.

Heading down the final straight in the men's 5000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Lagat's kick had him ahead of Rupp. But Rupp fought back on the inside, pulled even. It was a close finish with Rupp getting the winn and Lagat finishing as the runner-up in 13:22.82.

Bouncing back from a disappointing Beijing, Bernard Lagat won the bronze medal in the 1500m and then four days later picked up the silver medal in the 5000m at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships in Berlin. That fall, frustrated with how close he was to beating Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele at the World Championships, he decided it was time to do more distance training for the 5000m and less speed training for the 1500m. That decision paid off and in 2010 Lagat set American records in the 3000 and 5000m. And the success continued in 2011 as he broke his own 5000m American record and claimed the silver medal at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships in Daegu.

Lagat's trip to Beijing was the third Olympic appearance of his career, but this one was quite different. Lagat competed for his native Kenya in Sydney in 2000, when he won the bronze medal in the 1,500m, and in Athens in 2004, when he won silver in the 1,500m. Lagat has since become a U.S. citizen and has traded in the blood-red singlet of Kenya for red, white and blue. Lagat made quite a splash in his first major competition as a member of Team USA, winning gold in both the 1,500m and 5,000m races at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships in Osaka. One year after that outstanding double, Lagat failed to medal in Beijing. After winning the 1500m and 5000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials, to the surprise of many, he did not advance out of the semifinals in the 1500m and placed 9th in the 5000m final in Beijing.

In Athens, Lagat and Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj dueled in one of the greatest 1,500m final races in Olympic history. El Guerrouj led coming down the stretch when Lagat pulled even to his side and eventually slightly ahead. El Guerrouj retook the lead and his first Olympic gold medal in a dramatic finish. A few days later, El Guerrouj won his second gold, in the 5,000m. "I ran the smartest race I've ever run," Lagat said. "It was two good athletes at their best, neck to neck, stride for stride. What more could you ask? Can you imagine what it took for him to dig and find an extra gear to pass me? It wasn't just anybody who beat me. It was Hicham, maybe the greatest ever."

Finland's Paavo Nurmi achieved the first 1,500m/5,000m double at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, and El Guerrouj followed in 2004. In 2007, Lagat became the first man to win both titles at a World Championships. "This double means a lot to me," said Lagat. "The story I was following was one by Hicham El Guerrouj in Athens. I wanted to do the same, because he inspired me. He is a wonderful man and friend."

Just before the 2003 Worlds in Paris, an official handed Lagat a letter saying he had tested positive for the banned substance EPO, a stamina-building hormone. He was suspended pending a test of his B sample, and the ensuing five weeks were a nightmare. To Lagat, the allegation was ridiculous. He never took supplements; since childhood he'd had a phobia of needles. And he didn't need drugs. "I was running my best clean," he said. "Why would I ruin it?" He was exonerated when his B sample came back negative.

Growing up on a family farm in Kapsabet, Kenya, Lagat ran a mile and a half to school each day, then home for lunch, back to school, and home again at dismissal. For all that, he was little more than a mediocre runner by his mid-teens. As his faster peers turned pro, Lagat entered Jomo Kenyatta University near Nairobi in 1996. After a coach there spotted Lagat's talent and contacted several American schools, Washington State took a chance. Within a year, Lagat was winning Pac-10 meets en route to a title-filled NCAA career.

Growing up, Lagat was unaware of the famous runners that came from his region of Kenya. There is a small stadium in Kapsabet called Kipchoge Keino Stadium, named after the four-time Olympic medalist and head of the Kenyan National Olympic Committee. Lagat had never heard of Kip Keino, and thought that the stadium was someone's house.


How tall is Bernard Lagat? How old is Bernard Lagat? Where does Bernard Lagat live? Find out here.

Age: 41 years old
Birthday: December 12, 1974
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 134 lbs.
Birthplace: Kapsabet, Kenya
Current Residence: Tucson, AZ

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