Despite the heatwave, the last day of the American Olympic selections was spectacular in Eugene (Oregon). Noah Lyles (200m, 19”74) and Athing Mu (800m, 1’56”07) notably signed the best world performances of the year.
Another very high level day for American and world athletics on Sunday in Eugene (Oregon), site of the Olympic selections. Despite the heatwave and record temperatures (over 42 degrees) which forced the organizers to suspend the events for five hours, Hayward Field hosted tremendous performances. We are of course talking about the world record in the 400m hurdles of Sydney McLaughlin , first woman under 52 seconds (51”90), or the double height – length of JuVaughn Harrison.
But we will also remember in the last event of these selections the victory of Noah Lyles over 200 m in 19”74 (+0.3 m / s), best world performance of the year for the reigning world champion of the specialty which had not been very sharp in the series then in the semi-finals. He beat Kenny Bednarek (19”78) and the 17-year-old phenomenon Erriyon Knighton, who further lowered his personal best to 19”84. The Tampa sprinter will therefore be in Tokyo, becoming the youngest American male athlete selected for the Olympics since Jim Ryun in 1964.
Where will Athing Mu stop?
Over 800m, the almost as precocious (19 years old) Athing Mu confirmed all her talent by winning in 1’56”07, best world performance of the year and second American performance in history, by disgusting her opponents in the home stretch, as Raevyn Rogers, second, finished more than a second and a half (1’57”66), Ajee’Wilson taking third place in 1’58”39. The slender Mu (1.78 m), also very efficient over 400 m as she proved in the university ranks, had been hampered during the first lap in a scramble but was perfectly replaced. She has just turned professional and will be one of the attractions of the Olympics on the double lap.
Hocker surprises Centrowitz over 1,500m
Over 1,500m, a very good show too but much closer with the success of Cole Hocker’s finish in 3’35”28, ahead of Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz (3’35”34) and Yared Nuguse (3’36 19). Hocker (20), a student at the University of Oregon located in … Eugene, is not yet quite sure of going to the Olympics because he had not achieved the Olympic minimum (3’35 ‘ ’00). But his victory will make him score valuable points in the World Athletics standings, which should be enough to validate his qualification.
Chelimo at the rendezvous
Contested at ten in the morning to escape (a little) from the heatwave reigning over the entire northwest of the country, the 5,000m men was won by Paul Chelimo (30), silver medalist in Rio over the distance . In 13’26”82, he beat Grant Fisher (13’27”01) and Woody Kincaid (13’27”13). Kincaid and Fisher, first and second over 10,000m on Saturday, June 19 during these same selections, will therefore take part in two events in Tokyo.
The heptathlon saw the victory of Annie Kunz with 6,703 points, a new personal best and best world performance in 2021. She edged Kendell Williams (6,683 points) and Erica Bougard (6,667 points). Note that Taliyah Brooks, who had fainted under the effect of the heat in the early afternoon during the heptathlon javelin competition without being able to attempt any attempt, had been authorized to throw solo, a quarter of an hour before the resumption of the tests, set at 8:30 p.m. But she finally decided to give up, insufficiently recovered.