What 2 Watch at the Olympic Trials: Saturday
Jesse Squire | On 02, Jul 2016
Today is Day 2 of the US track and field Olympic Trials, and three more events will select US team members for Rio. Here is your viewer’s guide for today.
How to watch
Today’s NBC schedule (all times Eastern)…
2:00pm to 5:00pm: live TV coverage on NBC
5:00pm to 6:30pm: live TV coverage on NBC Sports Network
(live streams are also available)
There are three-and-a-half* finals today. The Olympic team will be selected in the women’s discus, 10,000 meters, and the long jump, and the first day of the *decathlon will also take place.
The complete schedule below is listed by local time, so add 3 hours to get Eastern time.
Women’s Discus Throw
Twelve women have qualified for the finals, which begin at 10:45am local time (1:45pm Eastern time).
In a nutshell:
Whitney Ashley (Nike) is the favorite to win. She’s not a strong favorite, though, despite the fact that she’s undefeated against Americans this year, has the year’s best throw, and posted the top mark in yesterday’s qualifying. This is because the discus can be a fickle master and especially so in high-pressure situations.
If the NBC broadcast give the discus any attention at all, NBC producers will zero in on Stephanie Brown Trafton (Nike) since she was the Olympic champion eight years ago. But her recent form suggests she’s going to need a well-above-average day in order to make the team.
The general consensus picks for the second and third Olympic spots are Kelsey Card (Wisconsin), this year’s NCAA champion, and Liz Podominick (Chula Vista Elite), a 31-year-old journeyman seeking to make her first Olympic team (and just her second US team overall).
Complicating factors: The Olympic qualifying standard is 61.00 meters (200′ 1″) has been achieved by seven of the twelve finalists, including all of the favorites.
Women’s 10,000 meters
Twenty-four women will toe the starting line at 11:04am local time (2:04pm Eastern), just minutes after the live NBC broadcast begins.
Track and Field News picks Molly Huddle (Saucony), Marielle Hall (Nike), and Kim Conley (New Balance) to make the team.
Let’s Run picks Molly Huddle (Saucony), Emily Infeld (Nike/Bowerman Track Club), and Kim Conley (New Balance) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
Molly Huddle (Saucony) is a huge favorite to win, since she has consistently been among the world’s best long-distance runners for several years and has shown good form in 2016. After that, it’s a bit of a toss-up.
The big question mark is Emily Infeld (Nike/Bowerman TC), who hasn’t raced since the indoor season. At her best she’s more than good enough to make the team — she famously pipped Huddle at the finish line at last year’s Worlds — but no racing leaves questions.
The other two consensus favorites are Marielle Hall (Nike), the former Texas Longhorn who set PRs at 1500, 3000 and 5000 this year, and Kim Conley (New Balance), the 2014 US champion at this distance. Hall’s recent form suggests that she’s the better runner right now, but it will be just the second 10,000 meter race of her life.
Complicating factors: All of the major contenders have achieved the Olympic qualifying time of 32:15.00. An 11:00 start time means it won’t be quite as warm as it was for last night’s men’s race, but heat could still play a role.
Women’s Long Jump
Twelve finalists will begin competition at 11:45am local time (2:45pm Eastern) and, hopefully, we will get live coverage on the NBC television broadcast.
Track and Field News picks Brittney Reese (Nike), Tianna Bartoletta (Nike), and Janay DeLoach (Nike) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
When she’s healthy, six-time World Champion Brittney “The Beast” Reese (Nike) basically doesn’t lose, and especially in the biggest meets. She can look ordinary for several rounds and then will hit one huge jump and basically end the competition. She did struggle with injuries in 2014 and 2015, but she looks more or less totally recovered.
The only US jumper who has been able to push Reese is Tianna Bartoletta (Nike), who has been World Champion both before (2005) and after (2015) the ascendance of Reese.
The battle for the third spot should be intense. Janet DeLoach (Nike) is a veteran whose form suggests she could make a return to the Olympics. Youngsters who could upset the apple cart are collegians Shakeela Saunders (Kentucky) and Quanesha Burks (Alabama).
The decathlon is a great event to follow if you’re a complete nerd (raises hand) but it’s hard to preview. You have to know everyone’s PRs and recent marks and compare each event result to the expected result, because the leaders after each event don’t necessarily reflect who is going to come out ahead at the end.
Olympic veterans Ashton Eaton (Nike/Oregon Track Club) and Trey Hardee (Nike) look far better than anyone else. The third spot is up for grabs. There will be more analysis tomorrow after the first day gives us a clearer picture.
If there’s anything we learned yesterday, it’s that qualifying rounds at the Olympic Trials can be brutal and almost no one is safe from elimination.