Md. running star to compete at London Games

'Centro-nation' signs pop up for Matthew Centrowitz

 UPDATED 4:49 PM HST Jul 20, 2012
Matthew Centrowitz
ARNOLD, Md. -

A star runner from Anne Arundel County in Maryland will make his Olympic debut next month -- and his mother can't wait.


Matthew Centrowitz, 22, will be compete in the 1500-m track and field event on Aug. 3 with his parents cheering him on from the stands.

Signs that read "Centro-nation" have popped up across the Centrowitz's neighborhood in Arnold as a community is ready to cheer a hometown star in a big way.

There are proud moments in every mom's life. For Beverly Centrowitz, watching her son, Matthew, finish third in the World Championships last year and then qualify for the Olympic Games earlier this month was nothing short of spectacular.

"I have moments where I think, 'Wow, it's happening,' and I can't believe I'm going to be there to see it, to see him at the games," Beverly Centrowitz said. "There's another part of me that's saying, 'Did that really happen?' You know, because you're still kind of numb."

Matt Centrowitz, a graduate of Broadneck High School, is following a natural lead. Matt Centrowitz Sr. competed in the 1976 Olympics and qualified for the Games in 1980.

Inside the junior Centrowitz's room at home, he still has the posters of the runners he idolized as a kid.

"He slept it, he ate it, he talked about it. He would talk to his father for hours about running," Beverly Centrowitz said.

The proud mom said her son sounds "focused" and "confident" during their phone chats.

"I said, 'How's the food?' He said, 'I haven't had fish and chips yet, but I love the peach cobbler,'" Beverly Centrowitz said.

Matt's attempting to be the first American to medal in the 1500 since 1968. Beverly Centrowitz said he doesn't get nervous -- but she does.

"He has a gold cross that I got him a couple of years ago; he'll touch it just before his race. You can see it, you'll see him tap it, and he's ready to go," Beverly Centrowitz said.

Beverly Centrowitz actually planned a trip to the Olympics two years ago -- not knowing that Matthew would make the team.

"It will probably be one of the best experiences of my life, and I don't think that you can duplicate that again -- even if Matthew will make another Olympic team. This first one, I think, is special," Beverly Centrowitz said.

She called the planning a "leap of faith."

Do you want to print this page now?