What 2 Watch at the Olympic Trials: Saturday
Jesse Squire | On 09, Jul 2016
It’s Day 7 at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Here is your viewer’s guide to today’s action.
How to watch
Today’s NBC schedule (all times Eastern)…
6:30pm to 8:00pm: live stream via NBCOlympics.com
8:00pm to 9:00pm: live television coverage on NBC
There are five and a half* finals today: the women’s javelin, the men’s triple jump, 5000 meters, 200 meters, and 110 hurdles, and the first day of the *heptathlon.
Heptathlon, Day 1
As with the decathlon, the heptathlon requires following each event and comparing each athletes’ efforts against their expected results. For example, a good hurdler on a bad day may beat a bad hurdler on a good day, but the first has given up points and the second has gained.
Five women have achieved the necessary Olympic qualifying mark: Barbara Nwaba (Santa Barbara TC), Kendell Williams (Georgia), Erica Bougard (Mississippi State), Sharon Day-Monroe (Asics), and Heather Miller Koch. Those are the ones to follow closely in the afternoon’s events: the 100 hurdles (3:30pm ET), high jump (4:30pm ET), shot put (6:30pm ET), and 200 meters (7:40pm ET). We’ll have more in-depth analysis tomorrow after a day for things to shake out.
Twelve finalists begin competition at 4:00pm local time (7:00pm Eastern)
Track and Field News picks Kara Winger (Asics), Maggie Malone (Texas A&M), and Brittany Borman (Nike) to make the team.
HMMR Media picks Kara Winger (Asics) and Maggie Malone (Texas A&M) as favorites.
In a nutshell:
Only four Americans have thrown over 60 meters (196′ 10″) this year. Kara Winger (Asics) rates as the favorite given her status as a two-time Olympian and her performance in recent meets and the qualifying round. NCAA champion and collegiate record holder Maggie Malone (Texas A&M) and defending Trials champion Brittany Borman (Nike) have been throwing nearly as far as Winger and also rate as favorites to make the team. Hannah Carson (Texas Tech) is the one most likely to upend the apple cart.
Complicating factors: Rain could make for a slick runway and difficult conditions. The Olympic qualifying distance is 62.00 meters and Carson is the only athlete above who has not yet achieved it.
Men’s Triple Jump
Twelve jumpers begin competition at 4:15pm local time (7:15pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Christian Taylor (Nike), Will Claye (Nike), and Omar Craddock (adidas) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
Christian Taylor (Nike) is the consensus #1 triple jumper in the world, so he should have no trouble finishing in the top three here.
Omar Craddock (adidas) was fourth at last year’s World Championships and is a pretty good bet for the second of three spots. Will Claye (Nike) is a proven competitor and had a great result at the Prefontaine Classic, and if he gets close to his potential then he’s in for sure.
There is a long list of guys who could make a run at the Olympic team if one of the above leaves the door open: Chris Carter, Chris Benard (Chula Vista Elite), Eric Sloan (USC), Donald Scott, and Matthew O’Neal (South Florida).
Complicating factors: the Olympic qualifying mark of 16.85 meters (55′ 3½”) is not going to be an issue since nine of the twelve finalists have achieved it.
Men’s 5000 meters
The sixteen finalists toe the starting line at 5:20pm local time (8:20pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Ryan Hill (Nike/Bowerman TC), Ben True (Saucony), and Galen Rupp (Nike Oregon Project) to make the team.
Let’s Run picks Ryan Hill (Nike/Bowerman TC), Ben True (Saucony), and Bernard Lagat (Nike) to make the team.
Ryan Hill (Nike/Bowerman TC) is probably the USA’s best 5k runner, and a Trials race (no paid pacemaker) plays to his strengths of a fast finish. He’s the clear favorite.
The rest of the field basically breaks down into two groups: the hard drivers and the big kickers. Bernard Lagat (Nike) may be on the downside of his career but no one is better at being in the right place at the right time, and his semifinal showed that he’s still got some wheels. Other big kickers include Paul Chelimo (US Army) and Eric Jenkins (Nike Oregon Project). The success of the US Army runners at these trials is remarkable and Chelimo could give them Olympians in four events.
The hard drivers include Galen Rupp (Nike Oregon Project), Ben True (Saucony), and Hassan Mead (Nike/Oregon TC). Of those three, Rupp has the reputation but True has the most success at 5000 meters. And given how badly Rupp was outkicked in the semifinals, he most definitely does not want to have to do that again.
Complicating factors: none, really. All of the major players have achieved the Olympic qualifying mark (13:25.00) and the weather is predicted to be cool and damp.
Men’s 200 meters
Eight finalists will do battle at 5:42pm local time (8:42pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Justin Gatlin (Nike), Ameer Webb (Nike), and Tyson Gay to make the team.
In a nutshell:
Going into the trials, Justin Gatlin (Nike) was widely seen as a clear favorite to win, and his victory in the 100 meters only strengthened that perception. His loss in yesterday’s semi to Ameer Webb (Nike) was his first loss to anyone not named Usain Bolt since 2013, but it was a semifinal and is probably meaningless.
What has happened to change this calculus is a very fast semifinal by 400 meter specialist LaShawn Merritt (Nike), the fastest of the year. It sets up an interesting battle, especially since Gatlin is stuck out in lane 8.
Webb is the next fastest of the finalists in the Olympic qualifying period and has proven himself on the Diamond League circuit. Tyson Gay didn’t run well in the 100 final or the 200 semis; the splash page on his website says “ONE LAST LAP” and this might be it.
The lion’s share of the attention will be given to the two high schoolers in the final, Noah Lyles and Mike Norman. It has been a very long time since a male high school sprinter earned a US Olympic berth and it’s a long shot here to be sure, but I’m telling you that there’s a chance.
Men’s 110 Hurdles
There will be three semifinals at 4:25pm local time (7:25pm Eastern), cutting down to eight finalists who will run at 5:52pm local time (8:52pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks David Oliver (Nike), Ronnie Ash (adidas), and Aries Merritt (Nike) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
David Oliver (Nike) is the favorite, but after that it’s a wide-open affair.
Aries Merritt (Nike) is the feel-good story of many years in this sport, I for one hope he caps his comeback from a double kidney transplant with another Olympic run. The crowd will be behind Devon Allen (Oregon), who not only runs for their beloved Ducks but plays football for them too. Ronnie Ash (adidas) is running well and has some unfinished business to attend to. But honestly, anyone who can qualify to this final is capable of finishing in the top three.