Day 2 of the U.S.A. Track and Field Olympic Trials saw a handful of American athletes earn their tickets to the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday night, led by rising young sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who won the women’s 100 meters as expected.
Richardson, a show-woman in the Usain Bolt mold — she was ahead by so much in her semifinal heat she pointed at the clock for the last 20 meters or so to highlight her blazing 10.64-second clocking — is just 21-years-old but is the second-fastest woman in the world in the event this year, behind Jamaican star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
She won the final in 10.86 seconds, using her tremendous mid-race acceleration to overcome a poor start out of the blocks.
Richardson, Javianne Oliver, a former University of Kentucky standout and 2018 U.S. champion in the indoor 60m, and 2019 U.S. outdoor 100m champion Teahna Daniels were the top three finishers and will represent the Americans in Tokyo. Oliver ran 10.99 seconds and Daniels 11.03.
All are first-time Olympians.
After briefly celebrating on the track and with her sprint spikes still on, Richardson ran into the stands at Hayward Field to find her family and collapsed into the chest of her grandmother. With NBC’s Lewis Johnson in a post-race interview, she revealed that her biological mother, who abandoned her as a child, had died this month — Richardson calls her aunt Shay “mom” — and that her family is what keeps her grounded.
“Without them, there would be no me,” she told Johnson. “Without my grandmother, there would be no Sha’Carri Richardson. My family is my everything.”
In the women’s discus, Valarie Allman, one of the few sure things at this meet, secured her Olympic berth with a top throw of 69.92 meters (229 feet, 5 inches), well ahead of the pack. The second-place finisher was Micaela Hazlewood with a lifetime best of 62.54m (205-2) and third was Rachel Dincoff (60.21m, 197-6), who was in fifth place after four throws but jumped into third on her fifth effort.
Allman and Dincoff have already met the Olympic qualifying standard for the event of 63.50m, but Hazlewood has just 10 days to compete and meet or exceed that mark or she will not be able to go to Tokyo.
The grande dame of American track, Allyson Felix, earned a spot in the 400 meter finals with a 51.01 second run in her semifinal. Felix looked smooth over the final stretch as young challenger Kendall Ellis was pushing to win the heat (the top three automatically moved on to the final). Felix, already the most decorated woman in the sport’s history, is looking to make her fifth Olympic team.
World-record holder Keni Harrison had the fastest time in the 100m hurdles qualifying round. Harrison is looking to redeem herself after not making the U.S. team in 2016, a feeling men’s 800m standout Donovan Brazier knows well — though he is the reigning world champion and favorite to win in Tokyo, he said last week that making the Olympic team is his first goal. Brazier is one of eight men headed to Monday night’s final.
The decathlon got underway on Saturday and with the first five events done, Garrett Scantling leads with 4494 points over University of Georgia’s Kyle Garland (4424 points). After finishing fourth at the 2016 Trials and just missing a spot for Rio, Scantling left track and field in 2017 for a tryout with the Atlanta Falcons and was working as a financial advisor in 2019 when he decided to return to track and the most grueling event in sports.
Day 3 of the USATF Trials, which will feature eight event finals, begin Sunday at 3:15 p.m. with the decathletes running the 110 meter hurdles. NBC will broadcast live beginning at 9 p.m. ET.