Trial Run: SS' King competing in two events at Olympic Trials

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

June 26, 2008 - Kyle King has earned a place among the best distance runners in the United States, and he will prove it over the next two weeks.

King, a 1999 graduate of Sulphur Springs High School, will be running in two events at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

King will be competing in the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) and the 1,500 meters at the Trials. The top three in each event will represent the United States at the Beijing Olympics in August.

To qualify for the Trials, runners had to not only beat the Olympic qualifying standard, but also had to have one of the 24 fastest times in the country over the last year.

King ran a time of 13 minutes, 32.74 seconds in the 5,000 meters, which is the 13th-fastest time in the country. He also clocked a time of 3:40.66 in the 1,500 meters (which is a sub-4-minute mile) two weeks ago, which qualified him under the Olympic "A" standard in that event as well.

Qualifying for the Olympic Trials is a major accomplishment, one of the top rewards for a track athlete. To qualify in more than one event is an even greater honor.

He will be running both events at the Trials, though it could mean five grueling races in a span of nine days.

King's first race will come at 8:40 p.m. Friday in the 5,000-meter semifinal. The top eight runners will then qualify for the 5K final at 9:40 p.m. Monday, June 30.

King will then return to the track on Thursday, July 3, for the 1,500-meter quarterfinal. The 1,500 semifinal will be on Friday, July 4, and the final is scheduled for Sunday, July 6.

If King does not make the Olympic team, he can still help himself with a strong showing because it could land him a contract with a shoe company. King currently runs for ZAP Fitness out of North Carolina, but financial support from Nike, Reebok or Adidas could allow him to keep running professionally for the next four years. At 27, he is still young for a distance runner, many of whom don't reach their peak until their early 30s.

King holds the SSHS school record for the 3,200-meter run set while he was a senior, earning him a scholarship to the University of North Texas. He then transferred to Baylor University, where he earned All-American recognition in both cross country and track. He has been running for ZAP Fitness for the last four years.

Because of his highly consistent world-class times this year, King is currently ranked No. 4 in the U.S. by Elite Limited, trailing only Bernard Lagat, Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky. He is ranked No. 38 in the world.

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