Pete Pfitzinger, 26, a relative unknown and underdog, broke away from the deep Olympic Trials field just past the halfway point and built a 150 meter lead. In the last mile, John Tuttle passed Pfitzinger and then race favorite Alberto Salazar passed both of them.

In the final 400 meters, however, Pfitzinger, a Cornell grad, incredibly found another gear and overtook Tuttle and overcame Salazar in the last meters for the dramatic win. It was the first time Salazar lost to an American over 26.2 miles.

At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the U.S. Olympic Trials champion was also the top American, 11th in 2:13:53.