Four-time US long-distance champion Ryan Shay died today during Olympic marathon trials in New York City, the AP reports. Shay, 28, collapsed about 5 miles into the 26.2-mile race and could not be revived. The cause of death remains unclear. “It cuts a knife through everybody's hearts,” said one NYC racing official.
“The Olympic Trials is traditionally a day of celebration, but we are heartbroken,” said a US track and field official. Shay was trying to earn a spot at the Beijing Games. He had been a favorite to make the 2004 Games, but he finished poorly after straining his hamstring. Shay’s friend Ryan Hall won today’s qualifier, only afterward learning of his death.