Nick Symmonds

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Nick Symmonds
Nick Symmonds Zagreb 2010.jpg
Nick Symmonds at the 2010 Hanžeković Memorial
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1983-12-30) 30 December 1983 (age 35)
Boise, Idaho, United States
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 167 lb (76 kg)
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 400 meters: 47.45[1]
800 meters: 1:42.95[1]
1500 meters: 3:34.55[1]
Mile: 3:59.69[1]

Nicholas "Nick" Symmonds (born December 30, 1983) is an American middle-distance track athlete, from Boise, Idaho, specializing in the 800 meters and 1500 meters distances.[2] Symmonds recently signed with Brooks Running, (1/2/14). In college at Willamette University he won seven NCAA Division III titles in outdoor track. Symmonds is a 6-time US National 800 meters champion. He has competed over 800 m at the last two Olympic Games, reaching the semi-finals in Beijing 2008,[3] while in London 2012 he finished fifth in the final, running a personal best of 1:42.95. He won a silver medal in the 800 meters at the 2013 World Championships, having previously finished sixth in the 2009 final and fifth in 2011.


Symmonds was born on December 30, 1983, in Blytheville, Arkansas.[4] His family moved to Boise, Idaho when he was three. His father Jeffrey Symmonds is a surgeon, and his mother Andrea is a teacher.[5] Raised in Boise, Nick is a 2002 graduate of Bishop Kelly High School in that city.[5] An avid outdoorsman, Nick earned his Eagle Scout award in high school.[6] In high school he won state championships in the 800 m (PR 1:53), 1600 m (PR 4:20) and 3200 m individual races and on the 4 x 400m relay.[5] He chose Willamette University in Salem, Oregon over other schools that could offer athletic scholarships. At Willamette, a NCAA Division III school, Symmonds earned a degree in biochemistry in 2006 and is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.[5]

Running career


While at Willamette, he won the 800 NCAA championship race all four years and the 1500 NCAA championship race as a freshman,[7] junior, and senior.[2][8] Symmonds collegiate best in the 800m (1:45.83) currently ranks No. 1 in NCAA Division III history.[9][9] His 1500m collegiate best (3:40.91) ranks No. 3 all-time in NCAA Division III.[9][9]

Post collegiate

Symmonds during 2010 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

After college Symmonds joined the Oregon Track Club Elite.[5] A seven time outdoor track champion at the NCAA III level, he was runner-up at the AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2006 in the 800m race.[2] In 2007, he won the 800m race at the Prefontaine Classic meet in Eugene, Oregon, with a then personal best time of 1:44.54, shocking the current Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy by beating him with his own come-from-behind strategy.[10]

In 2008, Symmonds won the United States Olympic Trials 800m final held in Eugene, Oregon with a personal best time of 1:44.10.[11] He was the first of three Oregon associated athletes to finish at the top of this race before the home crowd, the other two being Andrew Wheating from the University of Oregon and Oregon Track Club training partner Christian Smith, an event referred to as the "Oregon sweep" and replayed many times in television coverage of the meet. This qualified him (and all three) for the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, for the 800 m race.[4] At the Beijing Olympics, Symmonds won his first-round heat, then finished a non-qualifying fifth place in his semifinal heat with a time of 1:46.96, 0.73 seconds behind the winner of that heat.

Symmonds continued to improve in 2009, winning the USATF Championships over Khadevis Robinson, which qualified him to represent the United States at the World Championships. As part of his preparation for the championships, Symmonds ran a personal best of 1:43.83 on July 29, 2009, in Monaco.[5] A few weeks later, Symmonds became the first American to qualify for the final of the men's 800m since 1997. He finished sixth in 1:45.71.[2] In 2010, he lowered his personal record again, to 1:43.76, while finishing third behind David Rudisha's 1:41.01 world record at the IAAF World Challenge track and field meet in Rieti, Italy.[12]

On June 25, 2012, Symmonds returned to the 2012 United States Olympic Trials again on his home track in Eugene, Oregon. The race went out fast, with Charles Jock leading Duane Solomon through a sub-50 second first lap. Atypically, Symmonds was not far off that pace. As Jock faded, Solomon charged off to a big lead through the final turn. Symmonds ran around the field and sprinted past Solomon on the homestretch to make his second Olympic team.

At the London Olympics, Symmonds was one of the two time qualifiers for the final of the 800m. He placed fifth in the final with a new personal best of 1:42.95; David Rudisha placed first in the world record time of 1:40.91., with Nijel Amos of Botswana second, Timothy Kitum of Kenya third, and Symmonds' teammate Duane Solomon fourth.

Off the track, Symmonds has dated Paris Hilton. Symmonds has been called the "Brad Pitt" of track.[13]

Symmonds was removed from the U.S. team at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics due to a sponsorship rights conflict between personal sponsor Brooks and U.S. sponsor Nike.[14]

Personal life

Symmonds is rebelling against what he considers absurdly strict rules restricting athletes' ability to market themselves. For the 2012 season, he auctioned off space on his left shoulder for a temporary tattoo to advertise a sponsor. The winning bidder was a Milwaukee advertising agency, Hanson Dodge Creative, which paid $11,000 for the space to advertise their Twitter handle. During restricted competitions like the Olympic Trials and Olympics, Symmonds is required to cover up the tattoo with white tape, which actually draws attention to the tattoo advertising underneath.[15] Symmonds is not the first track athlete to do this; 2004 Olympic champion shot-putter Adam Nelson actively sold space on his shirt during the 2005 season (when he won the IAAF World Championships).[16] The practice is also common in Boxing.[17]

“I’ve never had a problem speaking out about something that bothers me, The biggest thing that rubs me the wrong way is that governing bodies want to control the space I feel I should control.”[18]

At the 2013 World Championships in Athletics in Moscow, Symmonds was a vocal critic of Russia's "anti-gay" laws.[19] He dedicated his silver medal to his gay and lesbian friends.[20]

Symmonds published an article in the November 2013 issue of Runner's World Magazine advocating that Congress should "[b]an assault rifles and handguns for everyone except police and military personnel." [21] The article sparked arguments on both sides of the gun control debate and criticism of the magazine for covering a topic unrelated to running.[22][23]

Symmonds has a pet rabbit named Mortimer, with whom he posed for a PETA ad campaign against animal testing.[24]

Personal records

  • 400 m outdoors - 47.45 (Dublin, Ireland; July 25, 2012)
  • 800 m outdoors - 1:42.95 (London, August 9, 2012)
  • 800 m indoors - 1:46.48 (Valencia, Spain, March 9, 2008)
  • 1500 m - 3:34.55 (Monaco 2013) [25]
  • Mile indoors - 3:56.72 (Seattle, Washington, January 16, 2007)
  • Mile outdoors - 3:59.68 (Nashville, Tennessee, June 6, 2015) [26]
  • Beer mile - 5:19 (August 21, 2012)[27]

Major victories

  • USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships: 2008 (1:44.10); 2009 (1:45.86); 2010 (1:45.98); 2011 (1:44.17); 2012 (1:43.92); 2015 (1:44.53)
  • 2012 USA Olympic Trials 800 m - 1:43.92 (June 25, 2012)
  • 2009 Prefontaine Classic 800 m - 1:45.86 (June 7, 2009)
  • 2009 Boston Indoor Games 1000 m - 2:20.52 (February 7, 2009)
  • 2008 USA Olympic Trials 800 m - 1:44.10 (June 30, 2008)[11]
  • 2007 Prefontaine Classic 800 m - 1:44.54 (June 10, 2007)[28]
  • 2007 USA Indoors 800 m - 1:48.73
  • 2007 Boston Indoor Games 800 m - 1:48.15

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 All-Athletics. "Profile of Nick Symmonds".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 USATF: NICK SYMMONDS
  3. "Olympic Athletics Competition Schedule". IAAF. Retrieved 2008-08-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Complete U.S. Olympic rosters". August 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Goe, Ken. Symmonds no longer a secret. The Oregonian, June 20, 2007.
  8. Apple Raceberry JaM
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3
  10. "Records shattered at the Prefontaine Classic". The Oregonian. June 10, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 [1]USA Track and Field, June 30, 2008.
  13. Smith, Liz (June 25, 2012). "Paris Hilton And Olympic Hopeful Nick Symmonds--Texting, E-mailing, Dating. We Told You So!". Huffington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Nick Symmonds to miss worlds after failing to sign USATF contract release". Retrieved 12 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Elliott, Stuart (July 4, 2012). "With a Tattoo, Hanson Dodge Bets on Nick Symmonds". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Luhn, Alec (2013-08-14). "US athlete Nick Symmonds speaks out against Russia's anti-gay law in Moscow". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Horsey, David (August 15, 2013). "Putin's anti-gay laws set the stage for an international battle". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Mitch James, "Olympic Runner To Unveil PETA Campaign Monday in Santa Monica," Santa Monica Mirror, 14 December 2013.
  27. Nick Symmonds Breaks U.S. Beer Mile Record
  28. D3 star races to elite ranks, takes Athlete of the Week. USA TODAY, June 12, 2007.

External links