I think the first time I became aware of Rich Kenah was 1993 or 1994. I was flipping through Track and Field News (hard copy) and I saw the results of the USA Indoor 800m. Rich had placed 3rd in 1:48 point. Right then and there I started following his career. At that time, he wasn't always the fastest guy in the field, but he was always in the mix.
In 1996, at the Olympic Trials in Atlanta, I was trackside as Rich rolled past 600m in his 800m semi and he seemed to be finding more and more gears while the rest of his competitors hit the wall. He won going away, but in the final, Rich finished in the worst possible position at the Trials, much like my dad in 1972-4th. Top three go to the Olympics, fourth place stays home.
Rich and I met for the first time about 30 minutes after that race, deep in the tunnels underneath Olympic Stadium. I think he was still dazed after just missing the team, but he was gracious enough to spend 20 minutes or so chatting with me about his training. I didn't know it at the time, but another mutual friend, Craig Masback, would talk Rich into giving it at least one more year in the sport of track and field. And what a year it was for Rich.
First came the 1997 Indoor World Championships. Rich won the bronze. Then came the outdoor World Championships and again, Rich finished 3rd and won the bronze, going on to set his eventual PR at 800m of 1:43.38 that summer (to see the WC final, click here. To see his 1:43.38 PR behind Kipketer's 800m WR, click here) .
Today Rich and his wife Cheri and their children live in Atlanta where Rich is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Track Club. We had a chance to record this podcast about 10 days ago.