Allyson Felix poses during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
Time to Shine
Keni Harrison, the world record holder in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, will be attempting to make her first Olympic team. She was sixth in 2016.
Will Claye has three Olympic medals, but no golds. In 2012, he was second in the triple jump and third in the long jump. In 2016, Claye again won silver in the triple jump after defeating two-time gold medalist Christian Taylor at the Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, Taylor, the American record holder, was injured, ending his season. That means Claye will try to keep the Team USA streak alive in the triple jump.
Allyson Felix is looking to make her fifth straight Olympic team. The 35-year-old already has nine medals - six golds and three silvers - and needs one more to break a tie with Merlene Ottey of Jamaica as the most decorated female Olympian in the sport. With one medal, she would tie Carl Lewis, who has nine golds and one silver, for most Team USA track and field medals. Felix is hoping to win her first gold in the 400 meters, the event in which she took silver in 2016, and would also be a candidate for relays.
High school runners generating excitement include Hobbs Kessler, 18, in the men’s 1,500 meters; Erriyon Knighton, 17, in the men’s 100 and 200, and Roisin Willis, 16, in the women’s 800.
Kessler, whose first love was competitive rock climbing, broke Alan Webb’s 20-year-old high school record in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:34.36 seconds on May 29. That made him the third-ranked American of any age this season.
Knighton is ranked No. 9 on the world list in the men’s 200 at 20.11 seconds and has also clocked 10.15 for 100 meters.
Willis ran 2:00.78, which put her in the all-time top 5 for high school girls.
JuVaughn Harrison could attempt a rare double in the men’s high jump and men’s long jump. The LSU senior has the second-best long jump mark in the world this year at 8.44 meters, just ahead of defending Olympic champ Jeff Henderson at 8.39. Harrison also has high jumped 2.36 meters, which is also ranked second in the world, trailing Ilya Ivanyuk of ANA (Authorized Neutral Athletes, formerly Russia) by .01.
At the Trials, finals in both events are scheduled for June 27, with the high jump at 1:30 p.m. and the long jump at 4 p.m.
If Harrison makes Team USA in both events and also captures Olympic medals in both, he would accomplish something no American athlete has achieved since the modern Olympic Games began. Ellery Clark won gold medals in the high jump and long jump in 1896, while Robert Garrett won the silver in both the high jump and long jump. Garrett was an exceptionally versatile athlete, also winning gold medals in the shot put and discus.