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Before Jenny Simpson became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal at 1,500 meters by earning a bronze, her younger sister Emily offered some words of inspiration.
The note, Simpson said, carried what she called "a mantra" on it: "To be brave is to move forward."
"So I applied that tonight," said Simpson, a 29-year-old from Boulder, Colorado. "Emily is a firefighter and she always says how she loves we both fight for our country."
Simpson finished third Tuesday night at Olympic Stadium in 4 minutes, 10.53 seconds, behind Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia.
Simpson emerged from the next group, edging another American, Shannon Rowbury, who wound up in fourth, about a half-second back.
"I love feeling that stress on the last lap," Simpson said. "I was one of the crowd who could maybe get third, so I'm really happy."
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
And this time, her shoes only came off AFTER the race, when Simpson paraded around the track with a giant U.S. flag. At the 2015 world championships in Beijing, Simpson ran the final lap of the 1,500 without her left shoe after getting stepped on and finished 11th.
She was the 2011 winner and 2013 runner-up at the world championships.
After her unprecedented Olympic performance, Simpson declared: "They better throw me a party when I get home."