Could something like this ever happen?
. . . A guy born in American of Taiwanese parents helps his high school cross-country team win the California state championship, but receives no interest from nearby Stanford or Oregon, nor from other schools with prominent running programs like Arkansas, Villanova, Michigan, or Wisconsin.
He attends Harvard and runs in relative obscurity for four years. Upon graduation, he receives no interest from well-known coaches who would like to take him under their wing, so he temporarily finds a home with an established running development team before being let go after a lackluster month of group workouts.
He keeps the faith and trains to run the New York City Marathon which he enters via the lottery. During the race he fights to get himself up among the leaders in the main pack; they assume he must be a pacesetter since they never saw him before. Even more surprising is that he holds his place all the way through Central Park where he finishes in the top ten with an Olympic Trials qualifying time.
By now millions have heard of the runner who came out of nowhere to finish in the top ten of the New York City Marathon. Youngsters all across the country see him as a role model and interest in running is booming once more. At the Olympic Trials Marathon, Asian and even American fans stand three deep with signs to cheer on this new running sensation.
There on the starting line, Lin finds himself next to Ryan Hall, who is probably as dominant in American marathoning as Kobe Bryant is in basketball. Hall doesn’t recognize that runner beside him, but as the race progresses . . .