Rupp: "There’s no greater honor than being able to represent your country on that stage"

/ by Jamie Hudson
Presented By Toyota

Portland native and Oregon Ducks Track and Field star Galen Rupp discusses what it means to be an Olympian and what it was like walking into the Olympic Stadium for the very first time.

Rupp is preparing to compete in his fourth Olympics at age 35.

The 2009 Oregon graduate and U.S. Olympic distance runner has become a Portland icon over the years.

And he couldn’t be more honored to rep the U.S.  

It means everything to be an Olympian. There’s no greater honor than being able to represent your country on that stage, especially in a sport like Track and Field.

Galen Rupp

“The Olympics is it. That’s the pinnacle of what you can achieve,” Rupp explained. “Personally, I know every single Olympics that I’ve competed in is such an honor and such a joy to be able to represent the U.S.A. on the global stage.” 

Born in Portland, Oregon to Gregory and Jamie, Galen attended Central Catholic High School. Rupp was initially all about soccer, but he quickly caught the attention of Alberto Salazar, an American marathon runner, who coached Rupp to several junior and American High School records.

Rupp's Olympic Experience:

  • A three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016); two-time Olympic medalist (silver, bronze)
  • Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 5th (10,000m); bronze (marathon)
  • London 2012 Olympic Games, silver (10,000m); 7th (5,000m)
  • Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 13th (10,000m)

“My first Olympics was in 2008, I was a young kid and I was really wide-eyed,” Rupp recalled. “I had never been in a stadium that big and seen that many people that were there to watch a track meet.”

There was definitely a little bit of shock when I first ran through the tunnel, but right after that I had to try to calm myself down and remind myself that I’ve run this race hundreds of times before.

Galen Rupp

Rupp added, “I think there’s a big temptation when you get on such a big stage to start thinking you have to have a Superman performance or do something out of your mind on that stage, and I think really all the great athletes and the ones that always do well are the ones that bring it back to basics and remember that this is a sport they’ve been doing all their life and something that they love doing.”