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Day six of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene saw temperatures reach 100 degrees (F), with the 20 km race walks and the women’s 10,000 m held in the morning. But the results from the afternoon and evening matched the heat:
● Women’s hammer: World Champion DeAnna Price came in as the world leader and the American Record holder and underlined both with authority.
Throwing in the afternoon heat at 4 p.m., she opened at 77.82 m (255-4), the no. 6 throw in U.S. history, to take the lead, then improved to 78.61 m (257-7), the no. 2 throw ever by an American. Not far behind was Brooke Andersen, who got out to 77.72 m (255-0) in round two, now the no. 10 throw in U.S. annals.
That only fired up Price, who exploded in round three with an American Record throw of 79.98 m (262-5), also the world leader for 2021 and no. 2 all-time behind world-record holder Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) from 2016!
But Price wasn’t done. After a foul in the fourth round, the sent the ball-and-chain out to 80.31 m (263-6) for another American Record and the no. 7 throw of all time! She’s the second woman – after Wlodarczyk – to eclipse 80 m and she now owns the top five throws in U.S. history. Yowzah!
Andersen did not improve and stayed second, and will be a medal contender in Tokyo. Gwen Berry, no. 3 on the 2021 world list, reached 73.50 m (241-2) in the first round and no one else could throw that far. She made her second Olympic team and is also a medal contender at her best. Janee Kassanavoid was fourth at 73.45 m (240-11).
● Women’s javelin: Also in 100-degree heat, three-time Olympian Kara Winger took the lead right away at 61.47 m (201-8) in the first round, trailed by American Record holder Maggie Malone, who reached 60.74 m (199-3) in round two.
Avione Allgood-Whetstone got a lifetime best of 58.94 m (193-4) in the third round to move into third, but well short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 64.00 m (210-0).
Malone got hold of her fifth-round throw and sent the winning throw out to 63.50 m (208-4), while Winger stayed put and Allgood-Whetstone stayed in third. Malone was far off her best in tough conditions, but if right, will be a medal contender in Tokyo.
● Women’s pole vault: The jumping really started at 4.60 m (15-1), with contenders Sandi Morris, Katie Nageotte, Jenn Suhr, Olivia Gruver and Morgann LeLeux the only ones left. The team was decided at the next height – 4.70 m (15-5) – with Nageotte clearing on her first try and LeLeux making it on her third. They’re on their way to Tokyo.
Morris, the Rio silver medalist, missed her three times at 15-5, but ended up third and on the plane as Grover’s suffered from a miss at the opening height of 4.35 m (14-3 2/4). Suhr missed once at 15-1 and that left her in fifth place.
Nageotte continued on, clearing 4.80 m (15-9) on her first try, while the overjoyed LeLeux missed and then retired. Nageotte continued on to 4.95 m (16-2 3/4) to extend her existing world lead and sailed over on her second try for the no. 8 vault in U.S. history (she’s already third on the list) and equal-second outdoors!
She missed three times at a world-record height of 5.07 m (16-7 1/2).
● Women’s long jump: NCAA champion – and world no. 2 – Tara Davis of Texas took charge as the no. 7 jumper in the first round with a 6.92 m (22-8 1/2), but her lead didn’t last long.
There are those who believed 34-year-old Brittney Reese, the 2012 Olympic champion and 2016 silver medalist might not be ready to chase another medal in Tokyo, but as the next jumper in the order, she replied to Davis with a windy 6.94 m (22-9 1/4w) jump to take the lead. She added a legal mark of 6.91 m (22-8) in round three for emphasis and then went nuts.
In round four, Reese landed out at 7.11 m (23-4) and then to 7.13 m (23-4 3/4) to not only extend her lead, but get her best (legal) jumps since 2017! From 16th on the world list in 2021 entering the Trials, she’s now no. 3! She finished with 7.02 mw (23-0 1/2w).
Tiffany Flynn, who does not have the Olympic qualifying standard, moved to third in the fourth round at 6.75 m (22-1 3/4), a lifetime best (and no. 27 on the 2021 list). But in the fifth round, Quanesha Burks, the 2020 U.S. indoor champion, launched out to 6.96 m (22-10) for second, to which Davis responded immediately with 7.04 m (23-1 1/4) to regain second place. Flynn responded with another lifetime best of 6.80 m (22-3 3/4), but she remained in fourth.
Davis also finished at 7.02 m (23-1/2) and finished second with Burks third. All are on to Tokyo, with Reese once again in the mix for gold.
● Men’s 400 m hurdles: Khallifah Rosser ran hardest on the start in lane eight, but favored Rai Benjamin ran patiently to come even at the fifth hurdle. But then Benjamin exploded into the turn and ran away from the field, winning by an expanding margin in a staggering 46.83, the no. 2 time in history – and the 2021 world leader – just 0.05 from the world record!
“I knew I was going to run 46,” Benjamin said afterwards. He’ll have more chances to take Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78 from the 1992 Olympic Games.
Behind him was Kenny Selmon, who made his first Olympic team after an up-and-down year in a lifetime best of 48.08 and David Kendziera was third, also with a personal best of 48.38. Rosser ended up fifth with a season’s best of 48.81.
● Women’s 200 m: World leader Gabby Thomas started in lane six, with Allyson Felix outside her in seven. Off the gun, Thomas was on fire, passed Felix on the turn and was joined by Jenna Prandini off the turn into the straight.
But Thomas had all the strength on the straightaway and finished with her arms in the air, stopping the timer at 21.61, her third world-leader in three races and the no. 3 time in history! Only Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34 and 21.56 in Seoul in 1988 have ever been faster!
Prandini was sensational with a lifetime best of 21.89 (no. 9 all-time U.S.) for second and the battle for third was won by Ohio State’s Anavia Battle, who was third at the NCAA Championships a couple of weeks ago! Now she’s on the Olympic team, with a lifetime best of 21.95, ahead of Alabama’s NCAA runner-up Tamara Clark (21.98) and Felix (22.11).
Thomas authored one of the greatest series of races in the event at 21.98, 21.94 and 21.61 and is one of the favorites for a medal in Tokyo.
● Men’s 110 m hurdles: In the first semi, World Champion Grant Holloway broke fast, hurdled perfectly and ran through the line in a sensational 12.81 with an aiding wind of +1.8 m/s, the no. 2 time in history behind only Aries Merritt’s 12.80 from 2012. He regained the world lead and a threat to the world record in the final!
Trey Cunningham was second (13.21) and Jamal Britt was third (13.27). Sam Bixley of Washington State, disqualified yesterday during the false-start festival, appealed and was advanced to the semis, but finished ninth in 13.99.
Devon Allen won semi two in 13.10 (+1.2), ahead of Daniel Roberts (13.25) and Michael Dickson (13.29). Jarret Eaton was fourth in 13.32, but made the final.
All eyes were on Holloway nearly two hours later for the final, but there was another recall, with no one disqualified. Off the gun, Holloway and Roberts were in front right away and Holloway raced away with a clear lead and won decisively in 12.96 (+0.4). Roberts was second through most of the race, but Allen came on late and got second at the tape at 13.10, with Roberts at 13.11. Cunningham was fourth in 13.21, equaling his personal best.
After the first day of the women’s heptathlon, veteran Annie Kunz is in the lead at 4,042 points, trailed by Taliyah Brooks (3,946) and favored Kendell Williams (3,924) and then Erica Bougard (3,912). Only Williams and Bougard have the Olympic standard (6,420), but Kunz and Brooks are capable if everything goes right tomorrow.
There was qualifying only in the men’s 200 m and women’s 400 m hurdles, with lots of noteworthy action.
The men’s 200 m semis started with a strong turn from Kenny Bednarek and he powered down the straight for a 19.90 win (+0.9 m/s), ahead of Isiah Young’s 19.99 seasonal best and a 20.02 lifetime best from Andrew Hudson. Fred Kerley – already on the team in the 100 m – started slowly, tending to a small injury, then turned it on in the final 100, but still ended up fourth in 20.08.
World Champion Noah Lyles headlined the second semi and started brilliantly in lane eight, taking control around the turn and leading into the straightaway. But he was run down by 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton in the final 60 m, who won in 19.88, erasing Usain Bolt’s 2004 mark of 19.93! And Knighton was pointing to the clock in the final 10 m!
Lyles was second in 19.91, with world leader Terrance Laird third in 20.22. Kerley did make it through on time for the final.
The semifinals in the women’s 400 m hurdles started with world leader Sydney McLaughlin running hard from the start and was even with the hard-charging Nnenya Hailey over the eighth hurdle, but then ran away down the straightaway. McLaughlin’s easy style still produced a 53.03 time, second this year only to her own 52.83 from earlier this month.
Hailey scored a lifetime best of 54.24 in second and Cassandra Tate was third in a seasonal best of 55.24.
Semi two had world-record holder Dalilah Muhammad (lane 6) and world no. 2 Shamier Little (lane 5) going head-to-head. It took three starts to get a fair gun, and Muhammad got out fast as expected, with the lead through the seventh hurdle. Little gained on the far turn and was even with Muhammad on the final straight, passing Muhammad on the run-in for a 53.71 win, with Muhammad at 53.86 for a season’s best. USC’s NCAA champ Anna Cockrell was third in 55.10. The final will be epic.
What a day! The Trials finish tomorrow, with the men’s 5,000 starting at 10 a.m. to beat the heat.
For our 649-event International Sports Calendar for 2021 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!