The history of the Flanagan-Linden ‘womance’

The world took notice on Monday when Shalane Flanagan took a bathroom break mid-Marathon, and fellow American Desiree Linden — who went on to win the Marathon — waited for her to catch up.

But it was far from the first time the two former Olympic athletes supported one another through their toughest athletic competitions.

Flanagan and Linden competed together in the Olympics twice, in 2012 and 2016. They both ran the marathon event in track and field.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
Shalane Flanagan (center) and winner Desiree Linden (right) made their way through a downpour in Wellesley.


Off the field, the two have been cheering each other on for years.

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In November, when Flanagan won the New York Marathon, Linden even gave Flanagan’s fans a pet name: FANagans.

Earlier that week, the two competitors saw each other running in Central Park, Linden tweeted at the time.

Flanagan tweeted back at her that she recognized Linden by her “smooth as butta form.”

The women are constantly supporting one another online. In one tweet, Linden called Flanagan an inspiration.


In an Instagram post on Monday, Flanagan called Linden a “true friend” and thanked her for “letting me goober all over your wreath and medal.”

It’s hard to pinpoint precisely when this competitive friendship began, but one thing is for sure: It started long before Monday’s bathroom break.

Felicia Gans can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.