Hundreds of track and field athletes have come to Eugene, Oregon for the US Olympic tests, which began Friday.
The stakes couldn’t be higher for the participating athletes. Finishing in the top three – assuming you’ve hit the time standards – means you can call yourself Olympians for the rest of your life. One misstep or misjudgment and you’re out, regardless of previous rankings or results.
Kevin Draper of the New York Times is now in Eugene. “After 10 days, to borrow a running cliché, the trials are a marathon, not a sprint,” he told me. “The fans certainly seem to agree. Around 9,000 tickets are available for every day, but on Friday it was maybe half. “
These trials will be characterized by the heat, he says. On Friday the temperature was in the high 70s and it will only get hotter in the coming days. Conditions will certainly play a role in who qualifies and who is sent home, Draper said. “If you can figure out which athletes, especially long-distance runners, can handle the heat best, you may just have figured out the Olympic team.”
Here’s who you see and how to see you:
Who to watch:
Sha’Carri Richardson. In April, Richardson ran the sixth fastest women’s 100 in history. On Saturday she qualified for the Tokyo Games and won the 100 with a time of 10.86. Their confidence matches their speed.
Elle Purrier St. Pierre. In February 2020, Purrier St. Pierre ran the indoor mile in 4 minutes, 16.85 seconds, breaking an almost 38-year-old national record. Last month she ran the 1,500 meters in 3:58:36, one of the fastest times in the world this year. The Times also told Scott Cacciola that Cabot Cheese runner was one of their sponsors.
Donavan brazier. The 800-meter runner is the best illustration of the do-or-die character of the tests. In June 2016, Brazier won the NCAA 800 title in 1: 43.55. It was the second fastest time run in the world that year. A few weeks later he could not qualify for the games in Rio. He wants to revise that story this year.
Dalila Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin. One of the best matchups of the trials could be the 400m hurdles when Muhammad, 31, and McLaughlin, 21, battle for supremacy. Muhammad is the reigning Olympic champion and broke her own world record at McLaughlin in October 2019.
Hobbs Kessler. In May, the 18-year-old ran 1,500 meters in 3: 34.36, reaching the men’s Olympic standard, qualifying for the exams and breaking the national high school record.
Sara Hall. Hall never count. After failing to qualify for the US Olympic team in the marathon, she tries to make it over the 10,000 meters. Since she had to abandon the marathon test last year only a few kilometers from the finish, Hall finished second in the London Marathon 2020 with 2:22:01, her personal best. Two months later, she won the marathon project with a time of 2:20:32. You will face a stacked field of 10,000.
Noah Lyles. Lyles hopes to qualify in both the 100 and 200 meters. As the world champion, he sits comfortably in the 200-meter line-up. But he fights with Tray from Bromell and Justin Gatlin in the 100 meter range.
Athing Mu. Few athletes have had such a successful freshmen season as 19-year-old Mu’s. Days before the Olympics, the New Jersey native, who runs for Texas A&M, set two college records. She broke her own 400 meter record with a profit of 49.57 and anchored her 4×400 relay with a record of 3: 22.34.
Allyson Felix. The nine-time Olympic medalist wants to take part in her fifth and final summer games. Felix, 35, first went to the Games at the age of 18 and has grown to become one of the sport’s most respected personalities. It is registered in both the 200 and the 400 series.
Shelby Houlihan. The middle-distance runner may not be competing for a place on the Olympic team, but her story has dominated the headlines in recent years. The relationships between World Athletics, the World Anti-Doping Agency, USA Track & Field, and key players and athletes in the sport have come much into focus prior to the tests.
How to watch:
NBC and NBCSN will broadcast the meeting live daily. The exams will be completed on June 27th. Here is the full schedule.
Refueling after the run: what we use
For every runner who realizes his or her Olympic dream, there will be many more who miss it by a split second.
In 2012, the professional runner Julia Lucas took part in the tests with the aim of forming the US Olympic team over 5,000 meters. She made her move early and held the lead only to miss an Olympic starting spot by a hundredth of a second. A hundredth of a second no less in a distance race. Lucas discussed that day on this episode of the Ali on the Run show and how he defined it and what not. Hear the full episode here.
Running organizations have long tried (and failed) to get permission to run another street marathon in New York City.
Steve Lastoe, founder of New York City Runs, didn’t give up hope. The Brooklyn Marathon, which was first run in 2011 and required more than eight laps around Prospect Park, is now taking to the streets.
“It was about working with the city all these years and getting to know us and trusting us enough to be able to do something like that,” said Lastoe.
The Brooklyn Marathon takes place on April 24th and winds north to south in Brooklyn and ends in Prospect Park, writes Matthew Futterman.
One last repetition
Once you’ve started spending more time exploring trails near you, become familiar with tick avoidance.
To start running or hiking in the woods, stay in the middle of the trail. Ticks are most active between April and September and like grass, bush and forest areas. How to protect yourself.