EUGENE, Ore. — Leonel Manzano chuckled when he heard how people in Burnet County hollered at their television screens during the final of the 1,500 meters in the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 1.
And what a finish they witnessed — a finish that means Manzano, a former Granite Shoals resident simply known to friends and family as “Leo,” is headed to the Olympics for the second time since 2008.
Manzano, a 2004 graduate of Marble Falls High School, was third when the race began, fourth after the second lap and fell as far as fifth until he worked his way toward the front of the pack.
PHOTO: Leonel Manzano, a 2004 graduate of Marble Falls High School, finished first in the 1,500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., on July 1. The former Granite Shoals resident will compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on July 27-Aug. 12. Courtesy photo
The Magnificent Manzano
• Leonel “Leo” Manzano is the only 1,500-meter runner from 2008 to make the U.S. team a second time in that event. Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong weren’t in the final.
• Since turning professional, he has anchored a Team USA team at the Penn Relays in the distance medley at least twice. The most recent was a win against USA Red and Lagat in 3:54.9 when the two ran in the 1,500 meters. Manzano came from behind in the final 800 meters for the win. USA Blue clocked 9:19.31, while USA Red finished in 9:19.88.
• This marks his sixth USA Track and Field team. He was asked to compete for Team USA as a junior and on the under-19 team while he was in college.
• Two NCAA 1,500-meter championships, numerous wins at the Penn Relays and at the Texas Relays.
• Nine University Interscholastic League championships during his tenure at Marble Falls High School. He graduated in 2004.
Manzano said he will be giving updates on his website, www.leomanzano.com, throughout the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The first heat of the Olympic 1,500 meters is Aug. 3 with semifinals Aug. 5 and the final Aug. 7.