Fear and Loathing from Eugene, Day 4, The Agony and the Ecstacy of the Olympic Trials, An Imperfect system has honesty and brutality to our sport.

Many will remember the sight of Athing Mu in tears from this night, and that is the brutal honesty found in an ee Cummings poem (P.S. He is from Saint Louis, my hometown).

Athing Mu, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

It is the honesty and brutality of the Trials. I recall Terry Albritton, Stanford shot putter and WR holder, who did not make it through the 1976 Trials. I recall Dan O’Brien staring down the runway of his third pole vault attempt at the New Orleans 1992 Trials, stopping, then starting, pure panic in his eyes. He would not make the 1992 team but would win in 1996 and set WR in the Fall of 1992, but the panic in the stands when the odds on favorite for decathlon gold in Barcelona did not make it.

Women’s High Jump

Charity Hufnagel won the High Jump in 1.94m, a personal best of 6 feet 4.5 inches. Rachel Glen also cleared 1.94m and made the team.

13-time US champion Vashti Cunningham needed a jump-off to guarantee her slot in the Paris team, with a 1.91m, 6 feet 3 .5 inch clearance. Vashi Cunningham, who has cleared 2.02 meters (2021), is gaining fitness.

Vashti Cunningham, June 24, 2024, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

To be serious about a medal in Paris, these women will have to clear 2 meters.

Men’s Long Jump

Jeremiah Davis leaped 8.20 meters, 26-11, on his third attempt, the winning jump. Malcolm Clemons leaped 8.18 meters on his sixth attempt, moving from sixth (8.05m) to the silver medal, and Jarrion Lawson went from fifth to bronze with his 8.18-meter jump (26-10).

Mitiadias Tentoglous (8.65m) and Matteo Furlani (8.38m) are the world’s best. Add in Simon Ehammer (8.30m) and the US will need the spirit of Carl Lewis and Mike Powell for medals in Paris.

Men’s 1,500 meters

A race for the Ages.

Yarod Nuguse, AR holder in the mile, led at 400 meters in 56 seconds, 800 meters in 1:55.30, and 1,200 meters in 2:51.33, running his third lap in 56.03.

The pace was brutal and honest.

On his shoulder was 21-year-old wunderkind Hobbs Kessler, who was going to make this team, come hell or high water.

So was Cole Hocker.

Cole Hocker, the 2021 Olympic Trials champion at 1,500 meters, took the lead with 250 meters to go in a brilliantly mad sprint to the finish.

He got the jump on everyone, and Hocker set an MR of 3:30.59 in his win, and also a PB.

The Thrill of Victory, Cole Hocker takes his second Oly Trials 1,500m title, June 24, 2024, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun.

Yarod Nuguse took the silver, making the team for his bravery; in 3:30.86 SB, Hobbs Kessler ran a 3:31.53 PB to take the bronze.

The six following all set PBs in a challenging, honest race in beautiful conditions.

We could get two medals in Paris, but I expect one in a 1,500m race, which will be very tough to win.

Men’ 400-meter

Everyone thought Mike Norman, the 2022 World Champion with great speed, would take it. Mike was just a bit off, as he had been nursing an injury, and he had gone out oh so hard.

Quincy Hall ran a PB of 44.17 to soundly take first from Mike Norman, 44.41, and Chris Bailey ran a PB of 44.42 to take the bronze. Vernon Norwood, our friend in the 400 meters, one of the most enduring of our 400-meter racers, took 4th.

Quincy Wilson, all of sixteen, ran sub 45 seconds 3 times in 4 days, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

Sixth, in his third sub-45-second race of the week, was Quincy Wilson, all of sixteen.

The Men’s 400m in Paris should feature Wayde Van Niekerk, 2016 Olympic gold medalist and WR holder, Kirani James, who has gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medals, and Alexander Doom.

Women’s 5,000 meters

The health of US women’s distance running is pretty impressive. Elle St. Pierre and Elise Cranny, both in late 20s, were separated by .02, 14:40.34-14;40.36, with Elle St. Pierre getting the nod, and Elise Cranny in second. A resurging Karisa Schweizer was third and Parker Valby, who was rewarded with the Olympic qualifier in 4th, might still make the team.

The ferocity of Women’s racing is truly exciting; neither of these women gave up, and they battled to the finish.

What a wonderful race!

Women’s 800 meters.

Here are the facts:

At 200 meters, Athing Mu tangled up with the field, and fell, the Olympic and World Champion out of the race, but she tried to get back, running 2:19.96 for last place.

Nia Akins, who fell in 2021, did not look back, kept pushing forward, and won. Allie Wilson caught Juliette Whittaker, NCAA champion, indoor and out, in the final meters to take the silver.

Nia Akins takes the 800 meters, at the 2024 Olympic Trials, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

Allie Wilson had run without a sponsor or coach when she left Atlanta Track Club, following her coach, Amy Begley, to Indianapolis with no sponsor.

Now sponsored by NIKE, Allie Wilson is an Olympian, with Nia Akins (Brooks Beasts since 2020), and Juliette Whittaker (NIL with ON running).

Monday was a big night. I have rewatched and rewatched the broadcast and race.

I came up with Athing Mu, not having raced much, was just short of racing fitness. It is sad, and I think she is a lovely young woman. Injuries slowed her down, but she seems to be figuring out what she wants and what she is. She is living in LA, LA land, the land of make-believe, and she has to decide if she is an 800m runner for the ages or a dabbler. This is not meant to be mean, Athing is a truly talented global star, she needs some focus and good luck.

I wish her both.

Heptathlon
The heptathlon is contested over two days and consists of seven events.
Anna Hall won the Trials, with Taliyah Brooks in silver and Chari Hawkins in Bronze.
Anna had surgery on Januar 10, 2024.
Six months later, she scored 6,600 points.
Anna Hall had not run an 800m all season until the heptathlon final! photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun
Jackie Joyner Kersee, the greatest heptathlete who has ever graced our planet, told me in 2022 that Anna is the “it” girl-she has it all and can win it all.
I have known JJK since 1984 (we are both from Saint Louis), and I do not question her enthusiasm on this. young talent of her generation.
I will return on Sunday and tell a real story about her event.

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