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The US Olympic team is set and the US Trials ended up being a tour de force of one of the most monstrous athletic teams our nation has ever assembled. The ten-day-long event was filled with impressive performances, entertaining human interest stories, and even solid commentary from our NBC anchors. I had a lot of fun with this and my blog got a bump in traffic after I perfectly predicted the finishing order in the men’s 10k, so I figured a follow-up post was appropriate.
First, I’ll walk through the scoring of my predictions. I only provided selections for the men’s track events. We’ll be using the LetsRun scoring system.
Each person that you correctly pick to finish in the top 3 = 1 point.
It doesn’t matter if you actually get the pick exactly right. If you pick someone for 1st and they finish 3rd you still get the point. Vice versa is true as well. If you pick them to get third and they get third, it’s still only one point.
Each event winner picked correctly = 3 more points (you pick someone for first and they get first, that’s 4 total points).
Each event picked perfectly – All three picks: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the right order = 2 more points (here the order is key).
1. Trayvon Bromell
2. Fred Kerley
3. Noah Lyles
Actual: Bromell, Baker, Kerley
1. Laird (LSU)
Actual: Knighton, Lyles, Bednarek
1. Michael Norman
2. Randolph Ross (NC A&T)
3. Noah Williams (LSU)
Actual: Norman, Cherry, Ross
1. Bryce Hoppel
2. Isaiah Jewett
3. Donovan Brazier
Actual: Murphy, Jewett, Hoppel
2. Hocker (Oregon)
Actual: Hocker, Centro, Nuguese
1. Grant Fischer
2. Cooper Teare
3. Eric Jenkins
Actual: Chelimo, Fisher, Kincaid
10000m — Perfect Selection
1. Woody Kincaid
2. Grant Fisher
3. Joe Klecker
Actual: Kincaid, Fisher, Klecker
1. Grant Holloway
2. No strong opinion
3. No opinion whatsoever
Actual: Holloway, Allen, Roberts
1. Rai Benjamin
2. Squirrel (LSU)
3. Trevor Bassitt
Actual: Benjamin, Selmon, Kendziera
Total Points: 30 / 72; Comment: I made some excellent picks
I didn’t cover the women’s field at all in my original post but I did end up watching most of the races, so I’ll provide my retrospective thoughts now.
First of all, and this is a general note since she Allyson ran in two events: the Allyson Felix hype came at the expense of other athletes who were running lifetime bests and arriving on the big stage for the first time. It rubbed me the wrong way. The announcers fawned over her being a mother to the point that it was disturbing. NBC needs to make bets on athletes being marketable but I don’t really think this was a good bet.
Sha’Carri Richardson gets redemption over her 2019 WC trials performance. She is the real deal now and will soon be drowning in endorsement money but her behavior is over the top. She just seems angry all the time with some type of attitude that there is actually a vocal group of doubters out there. Which, aside from the fact she aligned with a coach who had a doping past, there really isn’t any doubt–locally, nationally, internationally. She’s an obvious pick to be an Olympic medalist. After she won the final, there was a revelation that her “biological” mother had recently died, which made criticizing her attitude a bit taboo.
She has already started to penetrate social media platforms and gain exposure in circles that know nothing about track and field. Case in point, I saw a post on LinkedIn where a guy used her as a model of why rank-and-file employees should be comfortable having exposed tattoos, primary-colored hair, and long nails.
Not sure if that guy has ever heard of an “occupational hazard,” but the fact that a coach hasn’t succeeded in getting Sha’Carri to trim her comically long nails suggests that she is probably not fun to be around when she doesn’t get her way.
The NBC announcers called it perfectly after the semis. It was a race for 3rd behind Thomas and Prandini. Gabby Thomas blasted to a world lead and all-time beastly performance. Prandini was excellent. Cambria Sturgess was expected to do damage but she didn’t even make the final. Instead, the third spot was earned by Anavia Battle from Ohio State. Allyson Felix put in a solid performance to finish 5th, it would have been a long shot for her to make the team and, if I remember correctly, the 200-400 double is not possible for women anyway.
Wow, these women are exceptionally fast. My first thought was why the hell didn’t Athing Mu go for the 400m-800m double? The conspiracy theory is that there was a behind-the-scenes deal to give Felix one last shot at making the team. However, it’s plausible that Athing, though she exudes confidence in her interviews and race performances, didn’t want to risk giving up Olympic gold in the 800m just to risk losing out to a doper (Naser, etc) in the 400m. Fine, but still should have tried both at the US Trials.
Wadeline Jonathas is cool. With all the baby craziness, she was cheated out of the spotlight a bit. This was a painful post-race to watch.
Michaela Meyer–wow. When you consider that she’s coming straight off an NCAA title and that doesn’t match the prototype of elite American 800m runners at all, her getting 4th place here was magical and completely unexpected. Perfect tactics, excellent race. There is a pro contract in your future.
Athing Mu pretty obviously cut early and caused a runner to fall down. In international competition, that would definitely have resulted in a DQ. A minor blemish on what was a dominant performance. It’s hard to look at Mu run and not think about her eventually taking down multiple women’s world records, including from dopers! People are already talking about her showing up to the 400mIH. Imaginations are running wild.
I don’t have a strong opinion. I was surprised Dani Jones couldn’t hang. I remember watching her XC performance when she just dominated the last 1k or so to win it all so in my mind she is a born winner. Probably will be sharper for next year’s outdoor cycle?
Elle Purrier dominated, excited to see what she does in Tokyo.
It’s been implied pretty much since Dalilah set the WR back in 2019 that Sydney would come to smash it. With that in mind, it was probably one of the least marketable WRs of my lifetime. I get that the 400m hurdles isn’t a premier event, but I’d love to see the hard data on how sponsors reacted to the 2019 WR knowing that there was a phenom everyone else was going to be talking about every time Dalilah stepped onto the track.
A very muscular Sydney McGlaughlin was led by Dalilah through most of the hurdles but crushed her on the home stretch. Unreal strength that almost defies logic until you remember that Sydney is a legendary flat 400m runner. Sydney ran hurdles in 51.9. The flat 400m was won in 49.79. Sydney could easily compete for Olympic gold in the flat. There is so much pressure here that it is no wonder she has become very devout in her religious beliefs. Just like we talk about Athing Mu dominating everything, should Sydney be spending more time running 100m hurdles???? Could she be a medal threat by Paris? Could a healthy Sydney pull off a 4×4, 400mh, 400m, 100mh quadruple? Well, obviously not, that’s too much racing, but I’m dying to see what she does in her next off year (2026, if you’re wondering).
Shout out to Anna Cockrell.
Kerley is the man. Bromell is unstoppable. I stand by my take that Bracy’s 9.85 earlier this season was somehow incorrect. Lyles was not good out of the blocks. My call about the college kids was mostly true, except Micah Williams is now a 9.91 guy. Phenomenal series of performances, can’t wait to see him have some fun in the 60m this indoor season.
My picks were pretty bad here. Laird did not revive his mid-season dominance which really disappointed me. Thankfully there will be plenty of championship racing over the prime of his pro career.
Erriyon Knighton was a complete WTF here. 19.88 and 19.84 are mind-boggling for a 17-year-old. There’s no secret, he has the Bolt prototype body. Meanwhile, Kerley almost slipped onto the team in a second event. The announcers were saying that Fred was taking it easy on the turns because he had an ankle injury. Based on the way he raced from the rounds to the finals, this was highly likely.
Lyles found his form and his personality is really enjoyable. Bednarek: sorry. I counted him out, I might have even called him a fluke. He showed up all season and he showed up here. Best of luck in Tokyo.
Kerley did not have an easy path to making this team. Elija Godwin, who the announcers obviously hadn’t been watching all year, had a phenomenal showing through the rounds. Only one tenth of a second separated 4th and 8th in this final, if you can believe it. We’re talking reaction time, running through the line, running tight turns separating Trevor Stewart and Wil London. Now you have two NC A&T teammates about to run the Olympic 4x400m relay together. I can’t believe it actually happened.
Michael Cherry was a pro I counted out, and I’ll admit to my NCAA bias in this event. Michael Norman did not disappoint, but the majority of the NBC announcers’ interactions with him were cringeworthy..
Clayton Murphy is back. You want to talk about Cole Hocker silencing the haters? This was the ultimate silencing of the haters. Then we have Jewett in 2nd place who front ran all three races after just having won NCAAs (where he front ran every race). You could even consider that the gap he opened up by 400m is what triggered Brazier’s ill-fated surge at 350m. That move never works unless you’re going to negative split, which obviously wasn’t in the cards for any of the chasers at that point (though Murphy was close, with a huge performance).
It later came out that Brazier had been running on a stress fracture.
Jewett’s confidence has to be incredibly high now. To the point that the only thing that makes sense is to continue front running every race. Why leave it to chance? Well, what happens when he ends up in an early round head-to-head against Vasquez? Good lord.
I agree with the sentiment that this race was as good as it possibly could have been. The final had everything aside from Hobbs Kessler.
Centro still ran an ideal race reminiscent of his gold medal performance. Okay, he got out-kicked fair and square. However, Hocker was forced into 2-3 very risky moves where he would have risked disqualification on the world stage. You could even say that these moves, including one where he simply ran into the guy in front of him, were a bit reckless. Nuguse had better positioning and ran a wide turn but he had what he needed to make the team. Engels, man, he went home devastated. Hate to say it.
Suddenly the same people who were doubting Cole Hocker (he still doesn’t have the standard) are pulling up the splits from previous Olympic finals and realizing that he’s now a medal contender.
Surprisingly, I still haven’t watched this race.
Well, I called this one perfectly. Spots 1-2-3 were predicted correctly and I even predicted that Ben True would go home devastated. He certainly did.
This was a wild call on my end. Fisher or Kincaid are easy picks for the top 3, but to pick Kincaid over Fisher with the prediction that Fisher would “fade knowing he has the spot” ended up being prophetic. Then to imply that Ben True would get 4th (he got 4th), just uncanny.
I missed this final. I was driving 1500 miles. Bassitt will be back. I feel no shame in having picked him.
I performed very little research here, so I’m not angry that I had no idea what was going to happen behind Holloway.