With the ban of spectators in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics (including the marathon in Sapporo), we’re all in this together—watching from our couches and shouting all our reactions into the Twitter-verse. It makes social media an exciting destination.
Why we’re shouting right now? Molly Seidel, the 27-year-old American, has won bronze in the Olympic Marathon, running 2:27:46 behind Peres Jepchirchir 2:27:20 and Brigid Kosgei’s 2:27:36. The race was close and exciting and absolutely brutal.
As Seidel stayed in the lead pack nearly the entire race, fans were on the edge of their seat. With four runners left, they crossed their fingers that she could get to the podium. When Israel’s Lonah Salpeter started walking, it was apparent that bronze was hers to lose.
“RT if Molly Seidel is making you feel like you could run through a brick wall right now,” wrote David Melly on Twitter.
RT if Molly Seidel is making you feel like you could run through a brick wall right now https://t.co/W1wE0Nl6K7
— David Melly (@davidlikesyou) August 6, 2021
Steve Magness took a second to remind us all how incredible her performance was: “The field was stacked,” he wrote. “The two who beat her have 2:17 and 2:14 marathon PRs. Molly’s is 2:25. An Absolutely phenomenal run. Huge run.”
Molly Seidel for bronze in the Olympic Marathon.
It’s hard to convey how amazing this performance was. The field was stacked. The two who beat her have 2:17 and 2:14 marathon PRs. Molly’s is 2:25.
An absolutely phenomenal run. Huge run.
— Steve Magness (@stevemagness) August 6, 2021
Seidel is only the third American woman to medal in the Olympic marathon ever. She’s joining elite ranks that also include Deena Kastor and Joan Benoit Samuelson, hallowed names in the history of running.
The club Molly Seidel joined today, USA women's Olympic marathon medalists is Hall of Fame, first-name-only exclusive: Joan, Deena, Molly.
— Tim Layden (@ByTimLayden) August 6, 2021
It’s only the third time Seidel has raced a marathon. But people who know her and have seen her race aren’t surprised. “I had the pleasure of working with her at a running camp a few years ago, and her fearless mindset stood out above all else,” wrote Coach Andrew Sweeney.
Again: This was only Seidel’s third marathon. She ran her first when she came in second place at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials back in February, 2020. After seeing what she can do, running fans are starting to catch on and speculate about the career Seidel has ahead of her.
“This is just the beginning for @ByGollyMolly12. Just think about what she can do if she can stay healthy for another year or two,” writes marathoner Esther Atkins.
This is just the beginning for @ByGollyMolly12. Just think about what she can do if she can stay healthy for another year or two!
It’s so easy to pull for you, Molly! Stay goofy!
— Esther Atkins (@ErbyAtkins) August 6, 2021
Des Linden, who knows a thing or two about performing well in the marathon, reminded us that Seidel is not one to do what is expected. “‘It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.’ – marathoners,” Linden wrote, adding a quip about Seidel responding with “‘Hold my beer.'”
“It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.” – marathoners
“Hold my beer.” – Molly Seidel #TeamUSA
— des_linden (@des_linden) August 6, 2021
And though it seems like Seidel’s success has come out of nowhere, she’s been hustling for a long time to get here. Darren Rovell brought to our attention that she’s been planning her Olympic moves since the fourth grade.
In the fourth grade, Molly Seidel wrote this.
She just won the bronze in the marathon, only her third marathon ever.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 6, 2021
Fellow Olympians, elite runners, and fans far and wide hopped online to send Seidel their congratulations. “So proud of you lady,” wrote Molly Huddle. “I can’t even jog 800 meters but @ByGollyMolly12 has me FIRED UP!,” wrote sprinter and long jumper Tianna Bartoletta.
Kara Goucher, who provided NBC commentary on the race, added, “you are an absolute inspiration for the ages!!!”
Deena Kastor, who knows how Seidel must be feeling right now as an Olympic marathon bronze medalist herself (2004), kept her congratulations short and sweet: “Way. To. Go. Molly.”
— Tianna T. Bartoletta (@tibartoletta) August 6, 2021
After the Trials, people started to get curious about Seidel’s story. In 2016, she opened up about her struggle with disordered eating, getting treatment. Knowing what she has gone through and overcome has inspired many other runners who know what that is like. “@ByGollyMolly12 skipped the 2016 Olympic Trials in order to check into eating disorder treatment. 5 years later, an Olympic medal. Recovery is worth it,” wrote ultrarunner Amelia Boone.
Karis Jochen echoed: “Molly Seidel did NOT become a hero today. She became a hero when she stepped away from the sport to get help for an eating disorder. She became a hero when she chose her health.”
.@ByGollyMolly12 skipped the 2016 Olympic Trials in order to check into eating disorder treatment.
5 years later, an Olympic medal.
Recovery is worth it. #Olympics
— Amelia Boone (@ameliaboone) August 7, 2021
Molly Seidel did NOT become a hero today. She became a hero when she stepped away from the sport to get help for an eating disorder. She became a hero when she chose her health.
— Karis Jochen (@karisjochen) August 6, 2021
But don’t forget, Seidel is one of the many incredible stories to come out of Team USA’s women in these Olympics. “After the brutal year we’ve all had and lessons of resilience we’ve had to learn, there’s something particularly moving about so many of the American highlights from #Tokyo2020 being hard fought or unexpected bronzes, from Simone to Allyson to USWNT and now Molly,” wrote Erin Hohlfelder.
Finally, for your viewing pleasure, comedian Leslie Jones reacts: “Where is the stretcher?”
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