Charlie Grice of Sussex Athletic club Brighton Phoenix showed great fight in the 1500m final at the Rio Olympics on Sunday morning (21 August). Grice ran in a time of 3:51:73, which is way off his personal best of 3:33:60 which he managed just over a month ago in Monaco. By his own admission he was a little disappointed with his performance. It was an unbelievable effort for Grice to push the leaders for so long especially as the man from Brighton had qualified for the final by finishing fifth in his semi final.
There was however much to build upon as the man who once attended Brighton state school: Cardinal Newman, only faded in the final lap. The race which proved to be slow but mentally difficult had seen Grice level with the race leaders going into the last lap but this proved a little too far for the young man from the South Coast who visibly faltered in the final 100m.
Grice, just 22, finished in 12th in what turned out to be one of the most competitive fields in recent Olympic history with two former 1500m gold medallists – and the 800m Silver Medalist Taoufik Makhloufi from Algeria.
American Matt Centrowitz became Olympic champion in a time of 3:50:00, whilst Makhloufi replicated his 800m performance with the bronze. It was a bit of a disappointment for the Algerian who had taken gold in London four years ago.
33-year-old veteran Nick Willis, from New Zealand saw his efforts rewarded with bronze which he can add to his silver from the same event in Beijing in 2008. Abel Kiprop who claimed gold in Beijing only finished 6th which was still an improvement upon his 12th place finish at the 2012 Games in London.
There is of course the hope that Grice will go on to replicate fellow Brighton middle distance Olympian Steve Ovett who founded Grice’s current Athletics Club Pheonix. Ovett faired worse than Grice at his first Olympics in Montreal in 1976 failing to even make the final of the 1500m but he did manage a fifth place finish in his first 800m at the same Olympics.
Four years later Ovett claimed gold in the 800m in Moscow and bronze in Gricey’s favoured 1500m event. Ovett went on to claim several world records but also suffered disappointment at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 when the star was taken ill.
Grice who is known to be a great admirer of Ovett will now hope to build on his experiences in Rio and go about attempting to prime himself for in four years time when he hopefully guns for gold in Tokyo.
The future still looks bright for young Grice especially due to the fact that he has now competed in an Olympic Games at such a young age which sets him apart from many of his competitors at a similar age.