Rio Olympics 2016: The story of America's Olympic steeplechase glory

Evan Jager competes in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase final. Photo / AP
Evan Jager competes in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase final. Photo / AP

Who knew going into the Rio Olympics that one of the most important innovations in athletics would be the man bun?

Credit it - and the humble hair tie it requires - with two medals for Team USA, along with, of course, the efforts of two stellar athletes. But let's get back to the tie.

The juju contained in the merest bit of elastic worn by man bunnist and steeplechase competitor Evan Jager became apparent when Emma Coburn, a fellow steeplechase runner, was craving a tie and coming up empty just before her 3000-metre final. Jager made the gentlemanly gesture of loaning her his tie and - voila - she won a bronze medal in the event.

"I kinda always just have one on my wrist and I [lent] it to her," Jager, who has known Coburn since the London Olympics, told media, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In 2012, Jager finished sixth and Coburn eighth in the steeplechase, so there's the kind of closeness there that makes going halfsies on a hair tie seem natural.

"Our careers have kind of gone hand in hand," he said.

After Coburn took the bronze in 9:07.63 on Tuesday, she removed hair tie and, naturally, returned it to its owner.

At that point, it would have been wrong not to respect the powers of the hair tie, and Coburn acknowledged that on Twitter.


You can guess how this story ends. With his top knot secured by the hair tie, Jager went out and won a silver medal in 8:04.28 on Thursday.

Both athletes were filled with mad respect for the tie. "It's not the hard work in training and years of preparation, it's the hair tie," Coburn tweeted.


Jager was similarly filled with awe, telling Coburn on Twitter "I owe it all to you."
Never doubt the powers of the hair tie.


- Washington Post

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