Matthew Centrowitz, Jr., finished in the heart-breaking fourth-place position at the 2012 Olympic Games. It’s not something he wants to happen again.
So now the 26-year-old is back in search of the elusive Olympic medal, and this time, the 1,500-meter runner wants gold. Get to know the two-time Team USA Olympian nicknamed Centro with the five fast facts below.
1. The Olympics are a family tradition in Matthew Centrowitz’s family
Matthew’s father, Matt Centrowitz, Sr., also was a two-time Olympic runner. The elder Centrowitz competed in the 1,500-meter at the 1976 Olympics and qualified for the 5,000-meter at the 1980 Olympic Games. Matt Centrowitz, Sr., is the head track and cross-country coach at American University.
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Because his father knows the sport so well, Matthew Centrowitz, Jr., told the Capital Gazette that his father was sometimes hard on him.
“I’m not going to lie. There are a lot of times I feared the man more than I loved him. But I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for him being so tough on me.”
2. Matthew Centrowitz’s tattoo.
Despite having a rocky relationship at times, Centrowitz acknowledges that his father had a great impact on his career as a runner, and the junior Centrowitz has made it obvious that he respects and appreciates the bond that has been created as a result of the time spent on the track. In fact, Matt appreciates and respects his relationship with his father so much that he got a special tattoo on his chest: “Like father, like son.”
The tattoo was a bit of a surprise to the elder Centrowitz. Matt Sr. talked with the Capital Gazette about the moment when he heard about the tattoo.
“I thought somewhere I’d gone wrong as a parent that Matthew needed to get a tattoo to express our relationship. A Hallmark card would’ve been just fine.”
3. Running in the family.
Centrowitz’s father isn’t the only member of the family who has been successful on the track. Centrowitz’s mother, Beverly, ran track at Hunter College in New York, where she was inducted into the Hunter Hall of Fame. Additionally, Centrowitz’s sister, Lauren, was an eight-time All-American at Stanford. She ran at the 2012 Olympic trials.
4. Centrowitz and the Nike Oregon Project.
Before he turned professional, Centrowitz followed in his father’s footsteps and competed for the University of Oregon. Back in 2007, Centrowitz talked with MocoRunning about his decision to attend Oregon after graduating from Broadneck High School the same year.
“I loved the location, the people around the campus, and the academic side of things. They had a major that interests me and that I can see myself pursuing in the future. Plus who wouldn’t want their mascot to be a duck?”
When he turned pro in 2011, Matthew stuck around and opted to train with the Nike Oregon Project under famed coach Alberto Salazar, giving up his senior season of eligibility in order to do so.
5. Previous Olympic experience.
At the 2012 Olympic Games, Matthew Centrowitz, Jr., competed in the 1,500-meter and finished fourth. Of the 2012 race, Centrowitz told the Capital Gazette that competing in the Olympics was “one of the coolest experiences” of his life.
“I remember thinking in London, this is one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Going into (Rio) now, I’m being a little more business-like, more on a mission and not being so wide-eyed. I think that will help.”
Will you tune in to watch Matthew Centrowitz, Jr., compete in the 1,500-meter at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio?
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images Sport]