track and field
Goucher was a member of the United States track and field team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and competed in the 5,000-meter race. In his preliminary heat, he finished in 7th place (13:24.34) to advance to the finals. The only American to make the final in the 5,000-meter, Goucher finished in 13th place (13:43.20).
Goucher, whose mother is Jewish, became the preeminent American men's distance runner at the 1999 U.S. Outdoor Nationals, taking over for two-time Olympian Bob Kennedy. At the Nationals, Goucher edged Kennedy in the 5000-meter run. Then at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, Adam won the 5000-meter (Kennedy finished 6th), and qualified for his first Olympics with a time of 13:42.15. No American has won a medal in a race over 1500 meters since 1976, and Goucher is quick to downplay talk of his turning the U.S. into a long-distance power. He said, "When I hear stuff like that, I just blow it off...It can't be one person who turns American distance running around."
Although he says he did not take running seriously until his sophomore year at the University of Colorado-Boulder, he has had a lot of success since then. In 1999, Adam won the NCAA titles in the outdoor 5000-meter and 10,000-meter cross country races. Goucher also finished first in the 3000-meter run at the 1999 U.S. Indoor Championships, and the 1998 and 1997 NCAA Indoor Championships, and won the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
In 2001, Goucher was the favorite in the 10,000-meter entering the U.S Outdoor Track and Field Championships, but Bob Kennedy surprised everyone by winning the race. Adam finished third and later said, "I just wasn't in it [the race], didn't know what I was doing out there. I was tired...I have to give him [Kennedy] credit -- he's extremely experienced and knows what he's doing. He's really good at surging...The world championships (August 3-12) are much more important than this race and I have been preparing for them in my training."
At the 2001 World Championships, Goucher finished in 11th place in the 5000-meter with a time of 13:24.0. But that year, he began struggling with back and groin injuries. Diagnosed with a sacroiliac joint problem, Adam underwent bilateral hernia surgery in 2002 following the suggestion of a trainer at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. During the surgery, doctors discovered that his external oblique muscle was completely torn.
The surgery was considered a success and Goucher has returned to form. At the 2003 U.S. Championships, Adam finished second in the 5000-meter with a time of 13:35.67 (.44 seconds behind the winner). Adam was quoted in the Jewish Sports Review as saying, "I can't believe how good I feel. I had completely forgotten what it was like to run without pain. It's unbelievable."
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Feb. 18, 1975
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Review, November/December 2000 issue (Vol. 2, No. 9, Issue 22)