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Ohio Farm Boy Wins Bronze at Olympics

Clayton Murphy’s childhood seemed pretty typical for an American farm boy. He played basketball and soccer, showed pigs at the county fair, and helped with chores on his family’s farm in New Paris, Ohio.

That is, until high school when Murphy made the decision to focus his efforts on running. While that decision initially disappointed his father, who is a basketball fan, it proved to be a choice that would forever change Murphy’s life.

On Monday, Murphy won bronze in the 800 meters at the Rio Olympics. He ran his personal best time of 1:42.93, just milliseconds behind the second place runner Taoufik Makhloufi from Algeria (1:42.61) and the defending Olympic gold medalist for the event David Rudisha from Kenya (1:42.15).

This is the first time the U.S. has placed in the 800 since 1992, and it’s the third-fastest time in American history.

Murphy came a long way from running high school track to becoming an elite Olympic medalist. His best 800 time at Tri Villages High School in New Madison, Ohio, was 1:54. He received the necessary training during the past three years with Coach Lee LaBadie at the University of Akron in his home state.

This June after completing his junior year, Murphy left the college, turned pro, and signed a contract with Nike. LaBadie has continued to train Murphy this summer as he prepared for the Olympic trials and finally for the Olympics.

The 21-year-old was excited for the chance to run at the Olympics and just wanted to enjoy the experience.

“I just wanted to have fun with it and enjoy the minute and 40-some seconds I was out on the track,” he said in an interview with Runners World. “Because you never know how many more times you’re going to run on an Olympic track.”

While Murphy has made his name in running, he’s apparently pretty good in the show ring as well.

“Clayton loved to show the pigs,” his father, Mark, said in an interview with Runners World. “And I can tell you, he is just as good a pig salesman as he is a runner.”

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