American Olympic Hopeful Gabriele Grunewald Dies from Cancer at Age 32

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

Gabriele Grunewald runs in the women's 1500 meters at the U.S. Track and Field Championships, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Grunewald is two weeks into chemotherapy to treat cancer that's gone from her salivary gland to her liver. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

American middle-distance runner Gabriele Grunewald has died, her husband Justin confirmed Tuesday on Instagram. 

Grunewald was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2009 and thyroid cancer in 2010. The 32-year-old had been training in the hope of representing the United States in the 2020 Summer Olympics, per USA Today's Tom Schad.

Following her initial diagnosis, Grunewald went on to earn All-American honors at Minnesota and finished second in the 1,500-meter race at the 2010 NCAA Division I track and field championships. She also won the 3,000-meter run in the 2014 U.S. indoor championships.

Grunewald competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic trials for Team USA but was unable to earn a spot on the final team in both years. She narrowly missed out on the honor in 2012, placing fourth in the 1,500-meter run.

Grunewald last competed on the IAAF circuit in 2017, racing in six events while simultaneously undergoing chemotherapy sessions.

She told McGee Nall of Runner's World in April she still aspired to compete in the Olympics.

"If there's any opening for me to go to the Olympic Trials, that would be huge for me," Grunewald said. "I'm definitely not giving up hope that [qualifying] could still happen in 2020. That's definitely in the back of my mind."

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