Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathoners named Grand Marshals of the TCS New York City Marathon

The Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team - including Amy Cragg, Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden, Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp, and Jared Ward - has been named Grand Marshals for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6th.

Here's more about the news announced by the New York Road Runners in a press release today.

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At the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, these internationally renowned runners will participate in race-week festivities, including the TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines and contribute to the live race broadcast on WABC-TV, Channel 7 and ESPN2. On race day all of the team members with the exception of Rupp - who will be unable to attend due to family commitments - will ride in the official Grand Marshal vehicle through the 26.2-mile marathon route with Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.

Cragg, a two-time Olympian, was ninth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon after finishing first at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials. A former college teammate of Linden at Arizona State, Cragg also won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials, and she was 20th at the 2013 New York City Marathon.

Flanagan, a four-time Olympian, was the top American women's finisher in the Rio Olympic Marathon, placing sixth. She also holds a bronze medal from the Beijing 2008 Olympic 10,000 meters - becoming only the second American woman to medal in the distance - and is a two-time USATF Marathon champion, taking the titles in 2010 and 2012. Flanagan took second place at the 2010 New York City Marathon.

Linden finished just behind Flanagan in Rio, taking seventh in her second Olympic marathon. She was the fastest American woman at both the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon and 2015 Boston Marathon, finishing fifth and fourth in those races, respectively. A regular participant in the NYRR New York Mini 10K, Linden has finished as high as second place at both the Boston and Chicago marathons.

Keflezighi, an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, finished 33rd at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon and starred in the Big Apple in 2009 when he became the first American in 27 years to win the New York City Marathon. The four-time Olympian has finished in the top 10 in New York eight times and has appeared in the race 10 times.

Rupp sizzled in his Olympic marathon debut in Rio, taking the bronze medal to become just the fourth American man to medal in the distance in the last 100 years and 10th in the modern Olympic era after finishing first in the event at February's U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. He is a seven-time national champion over 10,000 meters and finished fifth in the distance in Rio. Rupp made his New York City road racing debut at the 2011 NYC Half, finishing third.

Ward made his Olympic debut in Rio, finishing sixth with a personal-best after taking third at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. A statistics professor at BYU off the roads, Ward was the top finisher at the 2015 USATF Marathon Championships, 25km Championships and 20km Championships.

This honor for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team represents the fourth time in the history of the New York City Marathon that the race has featured a Grand Marshal. The marathon's first Grand Marshal was in 1979, when Czech running legend Emil Zatopek was given the honor. Zatopek still stands today as one of the greatest distance runners of all time, having won three gold medals at the Helsinki 1952 Olympics in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and marathon. In 2003, Grete Waitz of Norway became the marathon's second Grand Marshal. One of the most celebrated marathoners ever, Waitz, a New York Road Runners Hall of Famer, won a record nine New York City Marathon titles. Last year, Brooklyn-raised filmmaker and quintessential New York sports fan Spike Lee served as the Grand Marshal, and has since become a member of the NYRR Advisory Council.

The U.S. Olympic Marathon Team's role as Grand Marshals will highlight a star-studded American professional athlete field, which will include 12 men and 11 women who competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and nine U.S. athletes who competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon total prize purse of $803,000 will include a USA Division for both men's and women's professional runners for the first time in a decade. The USA Division will total $116,000, with the top male and female American finisher each taking home $25,000.
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