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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials: Noah Lyles, Sha’Carri Richardson, and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone are aiming to secure their places

In most events, the top three finishers will earn qualification for the Paris Games.

The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, kick off this Friday, drawing some of the globe’s swiftest athletes. Over the span of eight days, prominent figures such as Noah Lyles, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, and Sha’Carri Richardson, among others, will vie for coveted spots in the upcoming 2024 Paris Games. The top three finishers in most events secure tickets to the Olympics.

One of the weekend’s highlights includes the finals for the men’s and women’s 100 meters. Noah Lyles is eyeing the title of “fastest man on Earth,” a mantle that hasn’t been held by an American in 28 years. His challengers include Christian Coleman, the 2019 world champion, and Christian Miller, an emerging high school star who briefly held this year’s world-leading time before being overtaken by the reigning Tokyo 100-meter gold medalist.

Undeterred by the odds, Lyles remains resolute in his pursuit. “World records are meant to be broken,” he remarked to NBC Philadelphia. “It’s just another goal to check off the list, and it’s always fun to go after the top. I still got Olympic gold medals to get. I still got records to break. Why shoot for the clouds when you can aim for the stars?”

In the women’s 100-meter event, Sha’Carri Richardson aims to etch her name in history and fulfill her Olympic aspirations following her absence from the 2020 Tokyo Games due to a positive cannabis test. Reflecting on her decisions, Richardson accepted responsibility during an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, stating, “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision.” Richardson recently clocked her personal best of 10.65 seconds at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, just shy of Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world record of 10.49 seconds set in 1988.

Meanwhile, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the current world record holder in the 400-meter hurdles, aims to defend her title. She confirmed to The Associated Press that she will focus solely on her signature event, opting out of the 400-meter and 200-meter flat races despite initial plans. “I think we kind of just knew we wanted to come back to the hurdles,” she explained. “Last year was fun trying the [400-meter flat race] and kind of dabbling in that. In the future, we might come back to that, as well, but I think this is kind of just our focus right now.” McLaughlin-Levrone has notched multiple world records at the Olympic trials, including her most recent achievement at the 2022 world championships.

In the women’s 800 meters, all eyes are on Athing Mu, the reigning Olympic champion from New Jersey, who is set to make her season debut. At just 22 years old, Mu made history as the youngest woman to claim track and field medals after securing gold in the 800 meters at the 2020 Tokyo Games. She has competed sparingly since earning bronze at last year’s world championships.

Turning to the field events, Ryan Crouser, the world record holder in shot put, will contend with Joe Kovas in his bid for Paris. Among the women, world champion Chase Jackson seeks redemption after finishing fifth in the trials for the Tokyo Games.

Coverage of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials for the 2024 Paris Games will be broadcast live on NBC, USA, and Peacock from Friday through Monday, and resumes June 27-30.

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