Matthew Centrowitz
Centrowitz at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
Personal information
Born (1989-10-18) October 18, 1989 (age 33)
Beltsville, Maryland
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight133 lb (60 kg)
Country United States
SportTrack and Field
Event(s)1500 meters
College teamOregon Ducks
ClubBowerman Track Club
Turned proNov. 2011
Coached byJerry Schumacher
Achievements and titles
World finals
  • 2011 Daegu
  • 1500 m,  Bronze
  • 2013 Moscow
  • 1500 m,  Silver
  • 2015 Beijing
  • 1500 m, 8th
  • 2017 London
  • 1500 m, 37th (h)
  • 2019 Doha
  • 1500 m, 8th
Olympic finals
  • 2012 London
  • 1500 m, 4th
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro
  • 1500 m,  Gold
  • 2020 Tokyo
  • 1500 m, 15th (sf)
Personal best(s)
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro 1500 m
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2013 Moscow 1500 m
Bronze medal – third place 2011 Daegu 1500 m
World Indoor Championships
Gold medal – first place 2016 Portland 1500 m
Pan American Junior Championships
Gold medal – first place 2007 São Paulo 1500 m

Matthew Centrowitz Jr. (born October 18, 1989) is an American middle-distance runner who is the 2016 Olympic champion in the 1500 meters.

He became a prominent figure in U.S. running when he won a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics. A seasoned competitor with a potent finishing kick, he competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 1500 meters—where he finished 4th by only 0.04 seconds. At the 2013 World Championships in Athletics, Centrowitz improved on his bronze medal performance with a silver in the same event.

At the 2016 World Indoor Championships, he won his first major international championship in the 1500 meters. He then won the gold medal in the 1500 meters at the 2016 Summer Olympics[3] in Rio de Janeiro with the slowest winning time since 1932, becoming the first U.S. runner to win the event since 1908.

Early life and background

Centrowitz was born in Beltsville, Maryland, the son of Beverly (Bannister) and two-time Olympian Matt Centrowitz, who was the head track coach at American University in Washington, D.C.[4] Centrowitz Jr.'s father is of Jewish and Irish ancestry,[5] and his mother is from Guyana.[6] Centrowitz grew up in Arnold, Maryland.[7]

Running career

High school

Centrowitz was a track star at Broadneck High School in Annapolis. His negative split 8:41.55 win in the 2-mile race at the Nike Outdoor Nationals was described as one of the best races in prep history[8] and was also the best high school time of 2007.[9] His time of 4:08.38 for the mile at the Penn Relays in April 2007 established a meet record.[10] That same year, he also set the Maryland state record over 1600 meters in 4:04.09[11] and won a gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championships held in São Paulo, Brazil in the 1500m run.


Like his father, Centrowitz ran for the Oregon Ducks. In 2009, Centrowitz's split of 3.59.53 helped break the NCAA 4 x mile record on May 10 with teammates Andrew Wheating (3:59.60), Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (4:05.21), and Galen Rupp (3:58.93), shaving a little more than a second off of the old record with a 16:03.24.[12]

In 2011 Centrowitz won the 1500 meters in the Pac-10 and the NCAA Men's Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

On November 29, 2011, Centrowitz announced his decision to turn professional.[13]


Centrowitz joined the Nike Oregon Project in 2011, where he was coached by Alberto Salazar. Centrowitz outkicked Bernard Lagat and Leo Manzano at the 2011 USATF Outdoor Championships in the 1500m. He won a bronze medal in the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in the 1500m behind Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat.

In 2012, Centrowitz qualified for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey by getting second in the national indoor 1500m championship, behind Manzano and in front of teammate Galen Rupp. He finished 7th in the World Championship Indoor 1500m final, with a time of 3:47.42. On July 1, 2012, Centrowitz qualified for the United States Olympic team in the 1500 m.[14] He finished in fourth place in the 2012 London Olympic Games in the 1,500 meter race, missing the bronze medal by .04 seconds with a time of 3:35.17. He won the Fifth Avenue Mile ahead of Bernard Lagat in September.[15]

During the 2013 indoor season, his first race was at the Seattle UW Indoor Preview, where he won the 800m. He was second at the Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile. He was first at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix mile. At the USATF Indoor Championships, he was fourth in the 800m and 8th in the mile. To kick off his outdoor season, he took part in the Penn Relays USA vs. The World, where his team took fourth in the DMR with a time of 9:19.33. He was sixth at the Oxy High Performance meet in the 1500m. He was tenth in the Prefontaine Classic Bowerman Mile, setting a personal best of 3:51.79. He won the USATF Outdoor 1500m championship for the second time, which qualified him for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. He won the silver medal in Moscow with a time of 3:36.78.

Centrowitz spent the 2014 outdoor season lowering his PRs. At the Diamond League meet in Monaco, he achieved a nearly one second personal best in the 1500 meters best by clocking 3:31.09, which ranked seventh in United States history at the time.

On February 20, 2016, Centrowitz won the Millrose Games men's indoor mile in 3:50.63, edging off Nick Willis.[16]

On March 20, 2016, Centrowitz won the 1500 meters at the World Indoor Championships, wrapping up an unbeaten indoor season.

Centrowitz attended a Baltimore Orioles baseball game after winning a gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

On August 20, 2016, Centrowitz competed at the 2016 Olympic Games, where he won the 1500 meters race in 3:50.00, becoming the first American to win the event since Mel Sheppard in 1908.[17] The race was tactical and the pace slow at the start; the first four finalists in the T13 1500m men's final at the 2016 Summer Paralympics all finished faster than Centrowitz.[18][19]

In January 2019, Centrowitz moved to the Bowerman Track Club under the coaching of Jerry Schumacher.[20]

In 2021, after qualifying for the Olympics, Centrowitz ran in a specially set up mile run as a tune-up for the Olympics. While his pacers dropped off the pace earlier than expected, he still finished in a new personal best of 3:49.26.Video on YouTube

Centrowitz competed in the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic games in the 1500. In the heats of the 1500, he coasted through the slowest heat with a time of 3:41.12. In the semifinals he placed 9th, failing to qualify for the finals and defend his 1500m Olympic title.

Personal life

Centrowitz is Catholic.[21][22]

His sister Lauren Centrowitz is also an elite runner, qualifying for the Olympic Trials in 2012.[23]

As of June 2020, he was dating Shelby Houlihan, a fellow 1500m runner.[24][25]

Competition record

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing the United States
2007 Pan American Junior Championships São Paulo, Brazil 1st 1500 m 3:56.63
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 3rd 1500 m 3:36.08
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 7th 1500 m 3:47.42
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 4th 1500 m 3:35.17
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 2nd 1500 m 3:36.78
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 8th 1500 m 3:36.13
2016 World Indoor Championships Portland, United States 1st 1500 m 3:44.22
Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1st 1500 m 3:50.00
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 37th (h) 1500 m 3:48.34
2019 World Championships Doha, Qatar 8th 1500 m 3:32.81
2021 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 10th (sf) 1500 m 3:33.69


  1. ^ a b c d e IAAF. "IAAF: Matt Centrowitz - Athlete Profile". Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  2. ^ "The Centro Mile LIVE [7/24/21]". YouTube.
  3. ^ "American Centrowitz claims shock 1,500m gold medal". Om Riyadat. Reuters. August 21, 2016. Archived from the original on September 17, 2016. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  4. ^ Matt Centrowitz. "American University Athletics". Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  5. ^ " Exclusive: Read Chapter Two of Matt Centrowitz's New Book "Like Father, Like Son"". January 30, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  6. ^ McMullen, Paul (September 27, 2006). "In his father's footsteps". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  7. ^ Kilgore, Adam (August 1, 2016). "Matthew Centrowitz follows his father's footsteps to a second Olympic team". Washington Post. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  8. ^ "Running_Shots_22". May 15, 1965. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  9. ^ "Preps: Boys' top performers [Track and field]". USA Today. June 26, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "156 HS Boys Mile Run Champions". April 28, 2007. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "Broadneck's Matthew Centrowitz". June 1, 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Video: Oregon Ducks break men's 4x1-mile record at Hayward Field". The Oregonian. May 10, 2009.
  13. ^ Goe, Ken (November 29, 2011). "Matthew Centrowitz explains his decision to leave Oregon early to turn professional". The Oregonian.
  14. ^ "Former Broadneck star Matthew Centrowitz qualifies for London Olympics". The Baltimore Sun. July 1, 2012.
  15. ^ Calderwood, Stuart (September 23, 2012). "Centrowitz and Martinez take Fifth Avenue titles". IAAF. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  16. ^ Results: Men's Wanamaker Mile. Millrose Games. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  17. ^ "Matthew Centrowitz ends U.S. drought in men's 1,500 meters". ESPN. August 20, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  18. ^ Addley, Esther (September 17, 2016). "Digested Week - Breadxit means breadxit: just when we kneaded a rise in baking puns". The Guardian. London. p. 20. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  19. ^ Strachan, Maxwell (September 12, 2016). "Four Paralympians Just Ran The 1500m Faster Than Anyone At The Rio Olympics Final". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  20. ^ Gault, Jonathan (January 9, 2019). "Olympic 1500m Champion Matthew Centrowitz To Be Coached By Jerry Schumacher, Will Train With Bowerman Track Club". LetsRun. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  21. ^ "Olympic runner Matthew Centrowitz has ties to Maryland parish". Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  22. ^ Grace Doerfler, Amelia Jarecke, Chloe Gunther (July 16, 2021). "Ten American Catholic athletes to watch for in the Tokyo Olympics". America. Retrieved July 20, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "USA Track & Field - Status of Entries". Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  24. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Matt Centrowitz Vents On Shit Talking & Having "Bad" Years". YouTube.
  25. ^ "You Don't Know Shelby Houlihan". June 30, 2020.