U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials

Several records were challenged in this year’s trials.

By Savannah Moore

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Records were broken left and right at the U.S Olympic Trials, not only by the athletes, but also the historic heatwave in Oregon that forced delays at the trials. Despite the scorching heat, several athletes challenged world records in Eugene.  

Gabby Thomas Adds to her Resume

Gabby Thomas already has earned a neurobiology degree from Harvard and is currently working on her masters in epidemiology. Now she is an Olympian. 

Thomas was running the 200m alongside track legends, like two-time national champion Jenna Prandini and three-time Olympian Allyson Felix. Thomas then proceeded to fly past Felix’s Olympic Trials record in the 200m as she finished with a time of 21.61. 

Gabby Thomas wins the 200m at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Thomas’ time was so impressive that she seemed to even surprise herself. Only one runner has posted a better time in the 200m—the great Florence Griffith Joyner. After her performance at the trials, Thomas will be the favorite in the 200m in Tokyo. All eyes will be on the clock to see if she can challenge Joyner’s record that has stood for over three decades.

DeAnna Price is in a League of Her Own

Price could only muster an eighth place finish at her first Olympics in 2016, but she has consistently improved since her trip to Rio, culminating in a 2019 World Championship victory in the hammer throw. 

DeAnna Price at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
SOURCE: Ashley Landis

By the end of 2019, Price held the American record in the hammer throw at 78.24m, but the record wouldn’t even last two years. Price broke her own record at the Tom Botts Invitational on April 10, 2021, with a throw that traveled 78.60m. The new record only stood for a few months. Price topped herself yet again at the Olympic Trials, becoming the second woman to break the 80 meter mark. Price’s 80.31m throw was only a few meters short of the world record. 

With her rapid improvement over the past five years, Price could topple the world record in Tokyo.

Sydney McLaughlin is No Longer the New Kid on the Block

Back in 2016, the world was first introduced to Sydney McLaughlin as a 16-year-old track phenom, who became the youngest member of Team USA’s track team since 1980. McLaughlin finished 16th in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but making it to the Olympics as a teenager is an accomplishment in itself. Now with five years of experience, McLaughlin is set to become a two-time Olympian at the age of 21. Although we will have to wait until the Olympics to see most of the track and field world records challenged, McLaughlin decided to spare us of the wait thanks to her impressive performance at the trials. 

Sydney McLaughlin after breaking the world record in 400m hurdles at the 2021 U.S Olympic trials.
SOURCE: Getty Images

Former world record holder Dalilah Muhammad was running in the lane adjacent to McLaughlin and was the clear favorite going into the trials. Half way through the race Muhammad held a clear lead, and her record seemed to be safe. Then at the final two hurdles McLaughlin began to pull ahead. Not only did McLaughlin set a trial record in the 400m hurdles, she shattered Muhammad’s world record as she became the first woman to post a time below 52 seconds. Muhammad was the first to greet McLaughlin after passing the finish line.

If the Olympic Trials proved anything, it’s that the records are indeed made to be broken, and that in Tokyo track and field will be must-see TV. 

The 2020 Olympic games are set to begin on Friday, July 23, in Tokyo, Japan.

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