The Olympic Games are set to kick off, and running fans everywhere are ready to watch their favorite athletes go after the ultimate prize: an Olympic medal. The battles for the gold in the men’s and women’s 10,000 meter races will be intense and enthralling. The U.S athletes in the 10K will push themselves to live up to high expectations amid tough competition. Ultimately, the gold medal will be won by the athlete who shows the guts and poise similar to that of the late Steve Prefontaine.

The elite American runners in the men’s 10,000 meter race will keep fans on the edge of their seats from the starting gun to the final lap. Galen Rupp of the Nike Oregon Project will go for a medal after coasting to a victory in the event at the Olympic Trials. Getting a medal will not be a walk in the park for Rupp. He will be racing against elite athletes like world record holder Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. Rupp will also be racing against Great Britain’s Mo Farah, Rupp’s training partner. Farah is a favorite to sweep the 10,000 and 5,000 meter races. Galen will also have to hold off medal contenders like Moses Masai and Wilson Kiprop of Kenya, among other top athletes. Dathan Ritzenhein of the Nike Oregon Project and Matt Tegenkamp of Nike will also represent the United States in the 10K. Ritzenhein is out to prove that a disappointing finish in the Olympic marathon trials can’t bring him down. Tegenkamp will attempt to continue his impressive performance against elite athletes. Regardless of the result, the U.S 10K runners are sure to give a performance that inspires the world.

The U.S women in the 10K have a big opportunity that will come with their race. The athletes have a chance to achieve glory and, for some, retribution. They will also be able to inspire the 10K men who race a day after the women. Amy Hastings and Janet Bawcom both barely missed making the U.S women’s Olympic Marathon Team. They have a chance to put their disappointing marathon finishes behind them by performing well in the 10K. The third runner, Lisa Uhl, is hoping that her training with Olympic marathoners Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan pays off. Their competition includes Beijing winner Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, and a strong group of Kenyans that includes Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai.The women’s 10K will not be an easy race, but a quality performance from the U.S women will be expected.

As the U.S heads into the Opening Ceremonies, the athletes have their hopes up, and so do the fans. The 10K runners hope to put in efforts that will make their country and their families proud. With so many potential medalists running for the U.S, it will undoubtedly be a fight to the finish.