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Athlete Profile – Matthew Centrowitz

Matthew Centrowitz normally saves his best performances for the world’s biggest stages.

The University of Oregon alum, who now competes for Portland-based Nike Oregon Project, was a medalist in the 1,500 meters at both the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Championships, and missed a bronze medal in the 1,500 at the 2012 London Olympics by an agonizing four-hundredths of a second.

That’s why his eighth-place finish in the 1,500 at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing last summer was not the way he wanted to end an otherwise outstanding outdoor season.

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“The expectation coming in was de nitely to get another medal,” Centrowitz said. “But I ran the best race I could possibly run … that was my best effort. It was everything I had. I was ready to go. No excuses. It was a quality, world-class eld, probably one of the best fields that I’ve faced at a World Championships.”

Centrowitz closed out the season as the top-ranked American in the 1,500 and No. 10 in the world. He has been ranked among the world’s top-10 in that event in four of the past five seasons.

After opening 2015 with a second-place finish in the mile (3:51.20) at the Prefontaine Classic, Centrowitz improved his 800m PR to 1:44.62 in New York City.

He went on to dominate the 1,500 at the USATF Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, clocking a blistering 52.03-second last lap to claim his third national title. He then set a personal best of 3:30.40 in the 1,500 in Monaco three weeks later; the fastest time ever by an American-born athlete and the No. 3 all-time U.S. performance.

Clearly, Centrowitz has established himself as one of the world’s top middle distance runners, and he is eager to make a good showing in front of the hometown fans at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

“I want to really have a good showing at World Indoors,” said Centrowitz, who placed seventh in the 1,500 at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, his only previous appearance at that meet. The only uncertainty is which race he will choose: the 1,500 or 3,000.

“I’m going to race whichever event gives me the best chance of medaling,” said Centrowitz after grinding out a season-opening win in the 3,000 at 7:55.25 on Jan. 15. “The indoor season is a good time to move up in distance. You’re coming off base training, not quite as sharp, and it’s hard to have fast workouts with the weather.

“That being said, I was primarily a two-miler in high school (in Maryland). I’ve always enjoyed the 3K. I think it’s a great event for milers, and if I believe the 3K will be tactical (at World Indoors), with my speed, there might be a better chance of medaling in that event than the 1,500.” Having run a PR of 7:40.74 in the 3,000 on Feb. 5, nobody should be counting him out at either distance.

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