What 2 Watch at the Olympic Trials: Sunday
Jesse Squire | On 03, Jul 2016
Today is Day 3 of the US track and field Olympic Trials, and up to twenty-one more men and women will earn berths on the US Olympic Team. Here is your guide on who, what, when, how and why to watch the action.
Your important links…
USA Track and Field Olympic Trials home page
Track Town USA Olympic Trials home page
Today’s start lists
How to watch
Today’s NBC schedule (all times Eastern)…
1:00pm: live stream via NBCOlympics.com
7:00pm to 9:00pm: live TV coverage on NBC
There are six-and-a-half* finals today. They are the women’s high jump, 400 meters, and 100 meters, the men’s long jump, 400 meters, and 100 meters, and the conclusion of the *decathlon.
The complete schedule below is listed by local time, so add 3 hours to get Eastern time.
The first five events of the decathlon were yesterday, and the final five events are today.
Ashton Eaton (Nike/Oregon Track Club) leads comfortably, even while dealing with injuries. Barring disaster, he will win.
Trey Hardee (Nike), the 2009 and 2011 World Champion, was not able to complete yesterday’s competition due to injury. The Trials are not kind to champion decathletes past their prime; four years ago it was 2008 Olympic Champion Bryan Clay who was a DNF.
The three men who appear in position to battle for the remaining two spots are Zach “Double-Z” Ziemek (Wisconsin), Jeremy Taiwo (Brooks), and Garrett Scantling (Georgia).
Each man has his strengths and weaknesses, and the way to follow the changing fortunes of the decathlon is to compare their results in each event to expectations. For example, a good hurdler on a bad day may still beat a bad hurdler on a good day, but the first has lost points and the second has gained.
Cribbing from TFN message board user “DecFan”, here are today’s events and rough estimates of how things are expected to turn out.
|110 Hurdles||Mark||points||running total|
|Pole Vault||Mark||points||running total|
Women’s High Jump
The women’s high jump begins at 3:15pm local time (6:15pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Chaunté Lowe (Nike), Vashti Cunningham (Nike), and Liz Patterson (Run Gum) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
This is basically a two-woman show between Chaunté Lowe (Nike) and Vashti Cunningham (Nike). Lowe is a veteran of three Olympic teams while Cunningham just graduated from high school. Both have been World Indoor champions (2012 and 2016 respectively), but Lowe made her first US international team when Cunningham was only five years old.
Complicating factor: The third place on the Olympic team may have more to do with the height of the bar than who finishes third. This is because only four women have achieved the Olympic qualifying mark of 1.93 meters (6′ 4″). They are the two above plus Liz Patterson (Run Gum) and Rachel McCoy. Unless someone else clears that height, it’s simply a one-on-one competition between Patterson and McCoy to make the team.
Men’s Long Jump
Twelve finalists begin competition at 4:15pm local time (7:15pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Marquise Goodwin (Nike), Jeff Henderson (adidas), and Mike Hartfield (adidas) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
This may be the most interesting field event final in the entire Olympic Trials. There are six or seven athletes with very real chances of making the team.
Getting the lion’s share of the attention is Marquise Goodwin (Nike), the Buffalo Bills wide receiver and 2011 US long jump champion who has returned to jumping. He’s consistently improved all season–until the qualifying round, where he barely squeaked in with the 12th and final spot. If he makes the Olympic team, it appears it may cost him an NFL job.
The rest of the list of contenders is long.
Jeff Henderson (Nike), a 3-time Diamond League winner and the 2014 US champion;
Mike Hartfield (adidas), a member of the 2015 World Championships team;
Marquis Dendy (Nike), last year’s Bowerman Award winner and the reigning World Indoor and US indoor/outdoor champion, but hobbled by a bad ankle injury;
Jarrion Lawson (Asics), who just became the first man since Jesse Owens to sweep NCAA titles in the 100, 200 and long jump;
Jarvis Gotch, an up-and-coming star who joined the 27-foot club this year; and
Will Claye (Nike), the triple jump star who won long jump bronze at the 2012 Olympics.
Complicating factor: Claye does not have the Olympic qualifying mark of 8.15 meters (26′ 9″) and would need to achieve it in order to make the team. While it’s hard to imagine a distance that short finishing in the top three, he could still be in trouble if a tailwind is consistently over the allowable 2.0 m/s and thus negating the marks for qualification purposes.
Women’s 400 meters
Eight finalists will take to the track at 4:38pm local time (7:38pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Courtney Okolo (Texas), Allyson Felix (Nike), and Francena McCorory (adidas) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
NBC will concentrate their coverage on Allyson Felix (Nike) because their producers aren’t interested in developing new stars. Felix’s status as a track and field deity is in jeopardy due to a bum ankle. She’s also 30 years old, which is ancient for the 400 meters — and the fact that she’s still likely to make the US team in one of our strongest events despite all of these disadvantages is a testament to how good she has been. But I don’t think she stands any chance at all at winning today.
Courtney Okolo (Texas) currently ranks #2 in the world based on her collegiate record of 49.71. Felix’s PR, set at last year’s Worlds, is less than half a second faster. While young, Okolo is hardly inexperienced since the NCAA system definitely battle-tests a quarter-miler.
The rest of the contenders include Francina McCorory (adidas), who sports a sub-50.00 PR, rising star Quanera Hayes (Nike), veteran Natasha Hastings (Under Armor), and former Oregon Duck Phyllis Francis (Nike). I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that everyone on the starting line has a real chance at the Olympic team.
Men’s 400 meters
The men’s finals begin at 4:48pm local time (7:48pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks LaShawn Merritt (Nike), Gil Roberts (Nike), and David Verburg (adidas) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
There is no such thing as a lock to make the Olympic team, but LaShawn Merritt (Nike) is about as close at it gets in this event. The only men on earth who can beat him are in Grenada and South Africa.
After him, it’s a battle royale for the other two Olympic spots. TFN likes Gil Roberts (Nike) and David Verburg (adidas), but Tony McQuay (adidas) showed the best form in the semis.
Women’s 100 meters
Three semifinal heats will be held at 4:02pm local time (7:02pm Eastern), and eight will qualify to the finals held at 5:44pm local time (8:44pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Tori Bowie (adidas), English Gardner (Nike), and Tianna Bartoletta (Nike) to make the team.
In a nutshell:
Yesterday’s heats gave us a glimpse of how things are going to turn out, but the semifinals will reveal more. Favorite Tori Bowie (adidas) and Pre Classic champion English Gardner (Nike) ran basically the same time. The fastest qualifier was Jenna Prandini (Puma), albeit with a big tailwind. Tianna Bartoletta (Nike) was in the middle of the long jump final when her heat came up and won it anyway.
Men’s 100 meters
Three semifinal heats will be held at 4:19pm local time (7:19pm Eastern), and eight will qualify to the finals held at 5:53pm local time (8:53pm Eastern).
Track and Field News picks Justin Gatlin (Nike), Tyson Gay, and Mike Rodgers (Nike) to make the team.
Ato Boldon calls this “a clash of veterans versus newcomers”, identifying Justin Gatlin (Nike), Tyson Gay, and Trayvon Bromell (New Balance).
In a nutshell:
Despite advancing age, Justin Gatlin (Nike) and Tyson Gay are the favorites. To many track fans, they also serve the roles of heels.
The rising star who could challenge them is Trayvon Bromell (New Balance). He won bronze at last year’s Worlds at age 20, which is very young for a sprinter. Had an achilles injury this spring and looked just fine in yesterday’s heats, but he also wasn’t going as hard as he’ll need to in the final.
Two others likely to contend are veteran Mike Rodgers (Nike) and college sophomore Christian Coleman (Tennessee).