Rio 2016

'Happy Gilmore'-Inspired Marathon Medalist Has Only Run a Marathon Twice

Want to feel a bit like some people are just built for sport? American Olympian Galen Rupp grabbed bronze in the marathon at Rio on Sunday, but it's not his event. That doesn't mean it's "not his event" like Usain Bolt's "event" is the 200-meter, but he's still the favorite in the 100-meter. It means Rupp doesn't run marathons. Or, at least, he didn't before this year's Olympics.

Rupp's main event the 10,000-meter. He finished fifth in that at Rio after tangling with the eventual winner in the middle of the race. Rupp has only run a marathon twice in his life. The first time was the Olympic qualifier in Los Angeles, which he won. The second time, he won bronze in Rio.

That's a little crazy. But the best part of it might be where he says he's taking motivation from.

"I was watching Happy Gilmore the other day," said Rupp in the video above. "He fights being a golfer for a while, saying he's a hockey player. I fought being a marathoner. I wanted to run on the track, but, you know, maybe this is my best event."

Saying he's inspired by Happy Gilmore sounds ridiculous, but it actually makes a lot of sense when he explains it. He didn't even have to fight Bob Barker to come to the realization.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record, but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.