Emily Infeld competed in the 2016 Olympics; she failed to qualify to run the 10,000 meters in Tokyo. What transpired during the years between the two Games is the subject of a lengthy and at times chilling piece for ESPN—she was stalked. Infeld, a bronze medalist at the 2015 world championships, was in the midst of training in 2018 when her life took a sudden swerve. As Aishwarya Kumar and Paula Lavigne write, that was the year "a man saw her on the internet and became obsessed." Craig Donnelly, a former runner who suffered a brain injury in a 2016 fall, started by sending Infeld messages on Facebook Messenger, originally mainly about running. She blocked him, then started to get calls from a man she thought to be Donnelly; he left voicemails about their upcoming wedding.
Things escalated: first an email with the subject line "wedding preparation" signed "Everlasting, Craig." Then expensive packages from FedEx (she refused them). By fall 2018 she had a permanent stalking protective order in place, and for 16 months, all was quiet. Then Donnelly was back, with a "more menacing" tone. Online messages referred to their "divorce." He moved to Portland, first about 12 miles from Infeld's home. Then she got a call in June 2020 from the security team Nike had put in place for her. "We have some troubling news," she was told. "Your stalker ... has rented a place 2 miles away ... and he has posted on LinkedIn that he was coming to Portland specifically to kill you." He wouldn't be arrested for violating the stalking protection order until June 2021, the same month Infeld failed to qualify for Tokyo. Says a fellow running champ, "She's gonna someday look back and wonder if the prime of her career was stolen by this." (Read the full piece for much more.)