Strong kick in semis leads to spot in finals
Republished from the August 4 Website of the UNH Wildcats
TOKYO – Elle Purrier St. Pierre, a Berkshire dairy farmer, 2018 graduate of the University of New Hampshire and member of Team USA, has advanced to the Olympics women’s 1,500-meter run finals by running a qualifying time of 4 minutes, 1.00 seconds in heat 1 of the Aug. 4 semifinals at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
“It was really emotional. I know I gave it my all,” Purrier St. Pierre said in a post-race interview. “I left everything on the track. I’m really proud of myself. So walking off, I wasn’t disappointed. Even though I didn’t make it in the top five, I was really hopeful because I knew that it was a fast heat. It was just waiting for those 10 minutes or so to find out was really stressful, but obviously I’m happy now.”
The top five runners from both of the two heats as well as the next two fastest times qualified to the finals. Purrier St. Pierre placed sixth in Heat 1, but her time of 4:01.0 proved to be the fastest non-automatic qualifying time — and eighth fastest overall in the semis — to put her through to the Aug. 6 finals (8:50 a.m. Eastern). The finals will be broadcast on Peacock. You can also watch events streaming on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. CLICK HERE to view Olympic TV listings.
In the semifinals, Purrier St. Pierre ran in third place on the inside lane for the first 700m. The lead pack of five runners began to pull away with 300m remaining and the Vermont native was in seventh place down the final stretch, but she surged back into sixth place with a strong kick in the last 40 meters to put her into position to advance to the finals.
Purrier St. Pierre made her Olympics debut Aug.1 in the first round of the women’s 1,500-meter run and advanced to the semifinals by placing third in Heat 2 with a time of 4 minutes, 5.34 seconds.
The top six runners of each of the three heats in the first round — plus the next six fastest runners — advanced to the semifinals.
Purrier St. Pierre was near the front of the Heat 2 lead pack — ranging from third-to-fourth place while running the inside lane — and then maneuvered to the front of the pack with 400m remaining. She remained in the lead until the final 40 meters, but easily held onto third place to advance to the semifinals.
Purrier St. Pierre made the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team by winning the 1,500m at the track & field U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 21 with a personal-best time of 3 minutes, 58.03 seconds. CLICK HERE to read the U.S. trials recap.
In the 2021 calendar year, Faith Kipyegon of Kenya has the fastest 1,500m time of 3:51.07. The Olympic field also includes Sifan Hassan (Netherlands; 3:53.60), Freweyni Gebrezzibeher (3:56.28) and Diribe Welteji (3:58.93) of Ethiopia, as well as Laura Muir (3:55.59) of Great Britain and Linden Hall (3:59.67) of Australia, all of whom have run a sub-4 1,500m time in 2021.
Purrier St. Pierre is the fifth Wildcat with a tie to the UNH track & field program to represent the United States at the Olympics. Richmond “Boo” Morcom ’47 competed in the pole vault in the 1948 Olympics, Jeffrey Bannister ’70 represented Team USA in the decathlon at the 1972 games, and Joanne Dow ’86 competed in the race walk at the 2008 Olympics. Clare Egan ’11 (MA) went on to compete in the biathlon at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Purrier St. Pierre was an 11-time All-American and 17-time America East champion across UNH’s cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field teams; she was the NCAA national champion in the mile at the 2018 indoor meet.
She also excelled in the classroom by completing a double major of Nutrition: Wellness and EcoGastronomy in May 2018 with a 3.71 cumulative grade point average.