Saturday, June 29, 2024

Day 7

US Olympic Track and Field Trials

by Mark Cullen

The men’s discus got the evening’s program started. Andrew Evans overcame a dicey first throw to take the lead with his third at 66.61/218-6.

Sam Mattis threw a season’s best 66.07/216-9 to finish second, though he doesn’t have the Olympic qualifier of 67.20/220-6. Joseph Brown and Reggie Jaegers were 3rd and 4th but do have the standard and are Evans’ likely teammates in Paris.

There were no surprises or upsets in the women’s 400m semis, with Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone leading all qualifiers in 52.48.

As expected, Tara Woodhall-Davis won the long jump at exactly 7.0 meters (22-11 3/4), though she did add considerable drama by missing her first two jumps. Less expected was that Jasmine Moore would be only 2cm/1” behind. See the end of this article for what happened with third place.

While I thought Gabby Thomas had a reasonable chance of winning the women’s 200m, I did not think that Sha’Carri Richardson was a reasonable pick for 4th.


Thomas ran 21.81 to win, while Brittany Brown scored a notable PB of 21.90 in 2nd. A hundredth behind her was McKenzie Long. What was especially surprising was the .25 margin that Long in 3rd had over Richardson in 4th.

This is why we run the races, folks.

While Tamari Davis did not start the 200m, so deep was this field that she and the other 8 finalists all had the Olympic standard.

First things first in the women’s shot put – or should I say third things. Like a bronze medal.

Oregon’s Jaida Ross took third and made her first Olympic team. Not that the hometown crowd noticed or anything. An impressive 8 US shot putters have the Olympic standard, indicating that in US women’s throwing, it is indeed a brave new world.

Jackson and Raven Saunders both showed they are peaking at the right time with seasonal bests of 20-10/65-11½ and 19.90/65-3½ in first and second, respectively.

Few newly minted Olympians were happier to wear the crown than Chase Jackson. The two-time World Champion said she frequently is mistaken for an Olympian even though she was not. Until today. Before, she said, it was like a “dagger in the heart” but now, she says, “I don’t have to feel that way.”

Chase Jackson
The two-time World Champion is an Olympian at last.

Weini Kelati won a closely contested 10,000m over Parker Valby and Karissa Schweitzer. Kelati won in a time of 31:41.07, with Valby 2nd and Karissa Schweitzer 3rd.

Close was never like this as 4/1000 separated second from third. Calls to mind the women’s close 5,000m as well; the two one-hundredths margin there seems like a downright chasm.

Only Kelati among all Americans has the Olympic standard; it’s a bit of a mystery why the field did not go out faster in an attempt to have at least two more runners reach the standard and qualify automatically for Paris. The standard is 30:40, and with the top 32 in the world advancing to Paris, Schweitzer went into the race ranked #55 in the world with Valby 81st.

I don’t understand (and I’ve asked a couple of colleagues, who don’t understand this, either), but will keep you posted. July 7th is the scheduled date for announcing the Olympic qualifiers. It will be much more exciting than the 4th!

The men’s 200m featured Noah Lyles winning in a world leading and meet record 19.53, which he described in the post meet mixed zone scrum as “average for me.”

News of note is that he will be renegotiating his contract with Adidas. “I haven’t started negotiations yet… I’m going to let them know that I’m available and I’m ready to go.”

About that race. Kenny Bednarek set a PB of 19.59 and seems to have found his event. And soft-spoken Erriyon Knighton, a veteran at 20, ran 19.77 in third. Christian Coleman finished fourth for the second time this week.

Athlete of the Day award goes to Monae’ Nichols, who went into the long jump final needing at least third place as well as an Olympic qualifier of 6.86/22-6 ¼.

She got third.

Want to guess her distance?

6.86 meters.

22’ 6 1/4”

Olympic standard on the nose.

And get this.

On her 6th and final jump.

Meanwhile, the man and woman sitting to the left of me in the media tent tonight work for the IOC.

I’ll try to behave myself.

photo: Mark Cullen

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