An Inside Look At The Numbers As Para Track And Field Trials Near
By Alex Abrams |
June 14, 2021, 9:30 a.m. (ET)
Tatyana McFadden poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on Nov. 21, 2019 in West Hollywood, Calif.
Inside the Numbers presented by DeVry is a series that gives fans a peek at the numbers behind what it takes to qualify for Team USA and other incredible facts about Team USA sports.
Five-time Paralympian Tatyana McFadden recently shared on Twitter that she was glad to be training with the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for Track and Field only two weeks away. It’s easy to see why she’s excited.
After getting postponed one year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the time is almost here for track and field athletes to qualify for this summer’s Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The top Americans in Para track and field will gather in Minneapolis and compete at Trials June 17-20. The fastest and strongest amongst the field will punch their tickets to Tokyo.
With Trials only a few days away, here’s a closer look at Para track and field by the numbers.
Two-time Paralympian Cassie Mitchell broke the world record in the women’s F51 discus with a throw of 14.87 meters at the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona, on May 30. Mitchell, who has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, is hoping this summer to add to the silver medal she earned in discus and the bronze she got in club throw at the 2016 Rio Games.
Lauren Fields, who celebrated her 15th birthday on March 20, is the youngest athlete scheduled to compete in Trials. The Spokane, Washington, teenager will race in the women’s 100-meter dash and the women’s 800. Los Angeles teenager Ezra Frech, who turned 16 on May 11, is the next youngest competitor. He’s scheduled to compete in three events in Minneapolis — the men’s 100, the men’s high jump and the men’s long jump.
Tatyana McFadden is one of the most decorated American Paralympians of all-time, earning 17 medals — seven golds, seven silvers and three bronze — in five Summer and Winter Games. She’s a star Para Nordic skier in addition to being a dominant track and field athlete. She’s hoping to qualify for her sixth Paralympic Games and add to her medal count this summer in Tokyo. She was the most decorated female athlete in Rio, earning four gold medals (400, 800, 1,500 and 5,000) as well as a pair of silvers in the 100 and the marathon.
Team USA earned 115 medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, 43 of them coming in track and field. McFadden won four of the 17 gold medals that the Americans captured in Rio, and they collected 15 silvers and 11 bronzes. The 43 medals that Team USA earned in Rio was its highest medal count since winning 49 at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Larry Schmitt, who turned 57 on April 22, is the oldest athlete scheduled to compete at Trials. The Bradenton, Florida, native will take part in men’s shot put and men’s discus, and he’ll be joined in Minneapolis by three other athletes in their 50s. The men’s shot put competition will include Frederick Evans, 54, of Pooler, Georgia, and Scot Severn, 52, of Caro, Michigan. Khalid Jlidat, a 53-year-old West Palm Beach, Florida, native, is competing in men’s javelin.
Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Jeremy Campbell solidified his place as the Paralympic favorite in the men’s F64 discus throw with a record-breaking performance at the Desert Challenge Games. On May 30, the final day of the competition, Campbell recorded a throw of 65.86 meters to break the world record. He’s looking to regain his title in discus after finishing fourth at the 2016 Rio Games.
Just three days of competition is all it will take to form a Paralympic team out of a group of 153 total athletes battling it out in Minneapolis. Team USA sent 66 track and field athletes to the 2016 Rio Games, the largest contingent in its history.
A total of 168 medal events in track and field will be held in Tokyo. The marathon is scheduled to be one of the final events at the Games.
Breck School, a private school in Golden Valley, Minnesota, will host the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for Track and Field. Established in 1886, the school boasts several famous alumni with connections to the Olympic Games. Walter Bush, Jr. served on the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1963, managed the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team and was USA Hockey president in the 1990s. Paul Johnson scored three goals and had two assists as a member of the U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California.
Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org
on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.