Morgan Uceny


School — Cornell (2007)
Country — USA
Hometown — Plymouth, Ind.
Event — 1500m (NBC Preview)
Event First Round — Mon., August 6, 6:45 am Eastern
Event Semifinals — Wed., August 8, 2:45 pm Eastern
Event Finals — Fri., August 10, 3:55 pm Eastern

Even before becoming an Olympian, Morgan Uceny was in contention of being one of the most dominant female middle distance runners in Ivy League history. The native Hoosier ran to six 800m and five relay (four 4x4s and a 4×8) conference titles, helping the Big Red win six straight indoor-outdoor conference titles. She also earned four All-American honors (2005 & 2006). All of that in three years as she did not run varsity as a freshman.

When she turned pro, she initially stuck with the 800m while training in Michigan but failed make much progress. Not until 2009 — when Uceny moved to California to began training with former Olympian and Ivy Leaguer Anna (Willard) Pierce and Coach Terrence Mahon — did she begin to see improvement in her times. Uceny did a few 1500m races in 2010 as some off-800 training (including winning the 2010 national title in the indoor 1500m) when she noticed that her 1500m times were more competitive than her 800m.

In 2011, she began racing the 1500m full time and won the 2011 USA National Championship in the 1500m. Her dominance in the Diamond League circuit led her to be the favorite for the gold medal at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Unfortunately, she was tripped up in the finals and finished 10th. She did not let that be the determining race of her season as she claimed the final Diamond League race in Brussels (effectively winning the DL 1500m circuit title) with a new personal best and 2011 top time of 4:00.06.  At the end of 2011, she was the first American since 1985 to rank #1 in the 1,500m by Track & Field News.

In 2012, Uceny defended her outdoor national title at the 2012 Olympic Trials and booked her ticket to the London Games.  Disaster came to Uceny again in the 1,500m finals as she once again fell on the final lap after getting tripped by a fellow competitor.  The rebound from the second fall took a longer period of time, as she needed to recovery both mentally and physically from that London final.  She still competed internationally, but her times were not as competitive as they were in 2011 and 2012.  Her 2016 form approached what she had back in 2012, and some track pundits were considering Uceny a dark horse in making a second Olympic team for the 2016 Rio Games.  She made it to the Olympic Trials 1,500m final where she ultimately finished in 5th place with a time of 4:06.94.

In December 2016, Uceny announced her retirement from professional track & field.

Additional resources:
Indianapolis Star: Uceny Poised To Medal After Years of Struggling
Running Times Magazine: The Rise and Fall of Morgan Uceny
Sports Illustrated: At Peace, Morgan Uceny Bids For A World Medal
Runner’s World Magazine: The Rising Stars: Simpson & Uceny
Los Angeles Times: U.S. Runners Trains In The Mountains With Podium Climb In Mind
Global Athletics: US Olympian Morgan Uceny Announces Retirement