KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Matt Tegenkamp established himself as one of the finest distance runners in his age group early in his career at Lee’s Summit High School.
As a senior with the Tigers, Tegenkamp won the Missouri Class 4 state cross country title in course-record time. He also swept the 1600- and 3200-meter races and led Lee’s Summit to a team championship in the Class 4 track and field championships, which hinted at the talent that would lead him to consecutive Olympic appearances after a career at the University of Wisconsin.
Tegenkamp won his heat at the 2008 Beijing Games and finished 13th in the final of the 5,000.
He returned to the Olympics in the 10,000, finishing 19th at the 2012 London Games.
Tegenkamp struggled with injuries in college, but flourished as a professional in the years after graduating from Wisconsin in 2005.
Matt Tegenkamp reacts after finishing the men’s 10,000m finals at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Friday, June 22, 2012, in Eugene, Ore. Galen Rupp finished first, Tegenkamp second and Ritzenhein third. The three will represent the U.S. in the London Olympics.
He is the first person to run a sub-4-minute mile on Wisconsin soil and remains the U.S. record-holder in the two-mile (8:07.07), which he set at the 2007 Prefontaine Classic.
Only four people in track history have run faster than Tegenkamp, who also became only the third U.S. runner to break the 13-minute barrier in the 5,000 in September 2009.
Additionally, Tegenkamp was the 2005 USATF Club Cross Country champion, a two-time U.S. indoor 3,000 champion (2007, 2008) and the 2009 U.S. outdoor 5,000 champion.
He became the U.S. champion in the 10,000 road race in July 2013 and moved up the marathons later that year before retiring in 2016.
The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.
41 Action News and KSHB.com is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at kshb.com/sports/olympics and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.