AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
 
Boris Berian went into the McDonald's at the athletes village and ordered coffee.
 
Not that long ago, the American 800-meter runner was the one taking the orders.
 
"Looking at the menu, it was like, 'I was once behind that counter,'" recounted Berian, who finished third in his heat Friday to advance to the semifinals.
 
Berian dropped out of college and embarked on his own path in the spring of 2014. A friend offered him a couch to crash on and he found a job at McDonald's in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to make ends meet.
 
Each day, Berian would ride his bike or walk the nearly three miles to work the early shift, leaving him time to train in the evening.
 
Those memories all flooded back when he walked into the fast-food chain in Rio. And again at a team meeting earlier this week. 
 
"Brought the story back, like, 'Wow, I'm here in Rio with the Olympic team,'" Berian said.
 
Berian's story was nearly derailed at the U.S. trials when he was caught up in a lawsuit with Nike over what gear he was wearing. He thought the lawsuit might prevent him from competing at the U.S. trials, but a day before they started, Nike dropped the lawsuit. Berian wore his New Balance gear to make the team.
 
On his uniform in Rio is a Nike swoosh. He doesn't mind, though, because it also says, "USA."
 
"I'm here to represent the U.S. I'm here for USA," Berian said.