Purrier St. Pierre clinches Olympic bid in 1500m
Montgomery native sets US Trials record, punches ticket to Tokyo
EUGENE, Ore. (WCAX) - Montgomery native Elle Purrier St. Pierre is headed to the Olympics in Tokyo after dominating the 1500m final at the U.S. Track and Field Trials Monday night. Purrier St. Pierre’s time of 3 minutes, 58.03 seconds set a new meet record in the event and earned the Richford High School grad her first trip to the Olympics.
Things got off to a rocky start in the race for Purrier St. Pierre. Entering as one of the clear favorites to finish in the top three, the Vermonter was shoved clear off the track as the field shifted towards the inside lane she occupied at the start. But she recovered quickly to seize control of the lead.
“I didn’t really know what happened at first, I just got shoved off the track,” Purrier St. Pierre said of the incident. “I was really, you know, not very happy about it. I kinda just got out of trouble and was like, ‘You know what, screw this. I’m just gonna run in the front now and make it fast.’ I don’t think I would have run as fast if I hadn’t gotten shoved, honestly.”
Purrier St. Pierre held the advantage by a decent margin most of the way, but was threatened by New Balance teammate Cory McGee late in the third lap. But the former NCAA champion and two-time American record holder was determined to show her strength.
Purrier St. Pierre’s kick came early in the final lap, as she opened up a sizable lead on McGee and the rest of the field. And that lead only grew larger down the stretch. Purrier’s 3:58.03 time was a personal best and more than two seconds better than McGee’s.
“It’s really hard to like put that into words,” Purrier St. Pierre said after the race. “It’s just a dream come true. It’s something I’ve been working for so hard all my life and you know I’m just so excited...I definitely thought of my family right away.”
Purrier St. Pierre was originally slated to compete in the 800 meters qualifying as well, but she told WCAX that she would likely scratch. The first round of the Olympic 1500 meters is scheduled for August 2nd in Tokyo.
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