EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon native Galen Rupp won the 10,000-meter final Thursday at the USA Track & Field Championships. His time was 28 minutes, 38.17 seconds.
But what was that thing on his face?
“He is so allergic that coach Alberto Salazar scratched him from the 10,000 at the Prefontaine Classic earlier this month when pollen counts spiked,” reported Ken Goe for The Oregonian.
“They were high again on Thursday. … Rupp hung out at the Oregon coast, away from the pollen-heavy southern Willamette Valley, until Thursday. He stayed in his hotel room after arriving in Eugene. And when he stepped onto the on the track, he was wearing a black surgical mask.”
So what is a surgical mask or an allergy mask? Either way, show off your creativity and participate in our “Galen Rupp, masked man” caption contest. While you’re at it, view this photo essay from The Oregonian that features great shots from the USA Track & Field Championships.
Here’s more reaction to Rupp’s mask:
He looked like a bank robber. Or a hockey goalie, or Darth Vader. … The mask “helped,” Rupp said. “I know it looks silly. I get embarrassed wearing it to be honest with you. … But if it’s going to help me out … that’s the most important thing.” … Though the mask helps early, Rupp said, it becomes increasingly uncomfortable when it heats up and rubs against his nose, cheeks and chin. He said Salazar told him to throw it off when he couldn’t take it any longer.
As for Rupp, he drove to Eugene from the coast earlier today, then hung out in his hotel room. Whenever he did venture outside, he made sure he was wearing the black surgical mask. “Whenever I went into a store,” he joked. “It looked like I was going to rob them.”
“It really just comes out of the allergies,” Rupp said. “I’m really allergic. They did a skin test, and I was 30 for 32 (in reactions to allergens). … It’s something I’ve always had, and I’m real fortunate to have great doctors who stay on top of it and do everything they can to make sure that I’m at my best. I’ve worn the mask before in warmups and never before really racing.”