There are four race finals on Sunday evening, with some of the most prominent track and field stars, like Allyson Felix and Noah Lyles, competing. Here’s a look at each of those races:
Women’s 400 meters (10:06 p.m. ET)
Nine-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix is looking to make her fifth, and final, Olympics team in this event. She took second in this event at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and won it at the world championships in 2015. Quanera Hayes, all of just 19-years-old, has the best time this season of any runner in the field, and Wadeline Jonathas has looked blazing fast. But this is one of the most competitive, and hardest to predict, races at the trials, and almost no combination of the top three will be surprising.
Men’s 400 meters (10:15 p.m. ET)
The men’s 400 meters race is a young man’s game, as half the field ran in the N.C.A.A. championships last weekend. The winner of that race, and the man with the fastest personal best in the field, is Randolph Ross of North Carolina A&T. His teammate Trevor Stewart has run the fastest time in qualifying rounds. The comparatively grizzled veteran Michael Cherry is 26, and has run on a number of medal winning 4×400 meter relay teams.
Women’s 100 meter hurdles (10:44 p.m. ET)
The finalists in this event will not be known until the semi-finals (9:03 p.m. ET) are contested. The American women swept this event at the Rio Olympics, but the field going into Tokyo is wide open. One of the medalists, Nia Ali, isn’t competing, and another, Brianna McNeal, has been banned from the sport for five years for “tampering within the results management process,” but is allowed to run at the trials while she appeals her suspension. The third Olympic medalist, Kristi Castlin, has qualified for the semifinals but hasn’t run particularly well this season.
Men’s 100 meters (10:52 p.m. ET)
The finalists in this event will not be known until the semifinals (9:19 p.m. ET) are contested, but to say field is deep is an understatement. Ten of the fourteen fastest men at 100 meters this season are American, led by Trayvon Bromell and Marvin Bracy. The biggest names are Noah Lyles, who won the 200 meter race at the world championships in 2019, and 39-year-old Justin Gatlin, who won the event 17 years ago at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The men’s hammer throw and the women’s triple jump, two of the track and field events that the United States has historically been the worst at, get a chance to shine Sunday evening, as does the women’s high jump. Here is a look at each of those events:
Men’s hammer throw (completed)
With his second throw in the finals, Rudy Winkler both set a national record and achieved the second farthest throw in the world this year, behind only Paweł Fajdek of Poland, a four-time world champion in the event. He has a chance at becoming the first American man to medal in the hammer throw since 1996.
He will be joined by Daniel Haugh and Alex Young, neither of whom have attended an Olympics before, but they do have the fifth and tenth furthest throws this year.
Women’s high jump (8:50 p.m. ET)
Vashti Cunningham — stories like this are obligated to mention that her father is former N.F.L. quarterback Randall Cunningham — competed at the Rio Olympics, and won bronze at the World Championships in 2019. This event is hers to lose. The favorites to join her include Rachel McCoy and Rachel Glenn, a South Carolina freshman who recently won the high jump at the N.C.A.A. championships. But it’s truly a tossup, as demonstrated by the fact that Tynita Butts-Townsend and Jelena Rowe, two of field’s strongest jumpers, didn’t qualify for the final.
Women’s triple jump (8:55 p.m. ET)
Keturah Orji, the American outdoor record-holder, and Tori Franklin, the American indoor record-holder, had two of the three longest jumps in qualifying rounds. The second longest jump belonged to Jasmine Moore of the University of Georgia who took second at the N.C.A.A. championships last weekend. They are the only three Americans who have achieved the qualifying standard.
An American woman has never medaled in this event at the Olympics, though Orji finished fourth in Rio.
To qualify for the Olympics it is not enough just to finish in the top three in an event. Just ask Micaela Hazlewood.
Hazlewood, who competed in the discus and shot put for Purdue University and then as a graduate student for the University of Kentucky, finished second in the discus finals Saturday night, throwing a personal best 62.54 meters.
But she is missing the qualifying standard that would stamp her ticket to Tokyo.
If each country was allowed to qualify three athletes in each track and field event at the Olympics, the competition would be impossible to manage, with dozens of rounds of qualifiers. So there is a qualifying standard, a minimum distance, height or time an athlete must achieve to compete in the Olympics.
For the women’s discus, the qualifying standard is 63.50, and the deadline to achieve it is June 29. Hazlewood’s plan to achieve it, and therefore join the Olympic team, in the next 10 days?
“That is what I am going to leave here today and try and figure that out,” Hazlewood said Saturday night, when asked if she had any meets lined up. “Probably hit a couple of them trying to hit that mark.”
An extra 96 centimeters is all it will take.
It’s only the third of ten days at the Olympic trials, but a number of finals have already been contested.
Assuming the athletes have hit the qualifying standard in their respective event, we already know a number of athletes who have qualified to go to Tokyo. So far, Team U.S.A. consists of:
Men’s shot put
Men’s 10,000 meter race
Women’s discus throw
Women’s 100 meter race
Already an Olympic gold medalist and record holder in the shot put, Ryan Crouser added a new line to his already impressive resume on Friday night: World Record Holder.
Crouser uncorked a throw of 76 feet, 8 ¼ inches, not just besting the record previously held by Randy Barnes, but smashing it by a full ten inches. The previous record was also set under dubious circumstances, as just two months later Barnes tested positive for steroids, and was banned for 27 months. Eight years later Barnes tested positive for androstenedione, and was banned from track and field for life.
Crouser’s biggest competition in Tokyo will probably be his American teammate Joe Kovacs, who finished in second place on Friday night. Kovacs also finished second to Crouser at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and is a two time world champion at the shot put.