Who is Joseph Chirlee?
Chirlee is a Kenyan native who became a naturalized American citizen in 2010. He is a part of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program and now trains in Colorado Springs with the American Distance Project.
Chirlee is one of just eight men with the Olympic ‘A’ standard in the 10,000 meters having run 27:43.96 in Wageningen, Netherlands on May 30. The performance was an over 30 second improvement on his previous best of 28:16.36.
He is now eligible for the London Olympics pending a top three finish in Friday’s 10k final.
Chirlee gained attention in the distance running community in 2011 when he was ruled ineligible to run at the U.S. Cross Country Championships having not sat out of international competition for two years after changing citizenship. Chirlee and his support system felt the decision was unfair as he was serving in the armed services yet unable to represent his country at a national championship race.
Chirlee is eligible to run at this year’s Olympic Trials because the London Games falls after his two year probationary period concludes.
Despite his ‘A’ standard run, Chirlee has managed to stay under the radar and out of the popular discussion for the Olympic team. Given how little we know about his talents, it’s hard to say what Chirlee can do come Friday, but it would be unwise to count out anyone with the ‘A’ standard.