Morgan Uceny grew up in Plymouth, Ind., a town of approximately 10,000. She then attended Cornell University, a school of approximately 14,000. Now she is competing for an Olympic gold medal at Olympic Stadium, an arena that fits approximately 80,000, in front of a global audience that could reach approximately 2,000,000,000.
Uceny’s path to the Olympics included 11 Indoor and Outdoor Ivy League Heptagonal championships and four All-America honors, which is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is that none of those titles came in the event in which Uceny now runs: the 1,500m. From 2005-2007, Uceny won back-to-back-to-back Ivy League Indoor and Outdoor 800m titles and was a member of five relay title-winning teams, placing first in the outdoor 4x800m (2005) and 4x400m (2006, 2007), as well as the indoor 4x400m (2006, 2007). She was a two-time All-American in both the indoor and outdoor 800m.
It wasn’t until her senior year that Uceny’s road to the Olympics took focus. Then Cornell head coach Lou Duesing, who stepped down in 2011 to serve as a part-time assistant coach with the Big Red, entered her in the 1,500m race at the ECAC meet, which she won.
From there, Uceny competed solely in the 1,500m. She finished fourth at the Olympic Trials in 2008, just missing a trip to Beijing. Undaunted, she worked hard and in 2011 posted the world’s fastest 1,500m time (4:00.06), won three European races and achieved the No. 1 ranking. She then competed in her second Olympic Trials, winning the race to punch her ticket to London.
Uceny’s second-place finish in her 1,500m heat on Monday put her in the semifinals of the event, which will take place on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. (ET).
Uceny holds the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor and Outdoor 800m records, along with Cornell records in the indoor 500m and 800m as well as the outdoor 800m. To this day, the Plymouth High School long jump record she set as a freshman still stands.
No American woman has ever won a medal in the Olympic 1,500m race. Chalk it up to just one more record for Uceny to break.