This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening at the Tokyo Olympics by subscribing here.
There’s an Olympic-level track meet coming up
Just as NHL stars return to their pro teams after the Olympics and WNBA players do the same, track and field’s regular circuit — Diamond League — is back after its Tokyo 2020 hiatus.
And it’s wasting no time bringing the thunder to its next stop in Eugene, Ore., known as the Prefontaine Classic. The meet begins on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, and you can watch it all live here on CBCSports.ca and CBC-TV.
Here’s the breakdown of what and who you’ll see:
Andre De Grasse back on the track. The six-time Olympic medallist is set to race the 100 metres in Oregon in a nine-man field that includes seven Americans. It’s a quick turnaround for De Grasse, who will have had just 15 days off after anchoring the Canadian relay team to bronze in Tokyo. De Grasse cemented himself as a big-race runner there, having now reached the podium in all seven individual events in Olympics or world championships in which he’s participated. So don’t be surprised if the Canadian, twice a bronze medallist in the 100m and the newly minted 200m champion, maybe eases up a little — though he told The Canadian Press that the decreased pressure might just make motivation easier. Read more about De Grasse’s return here.
U.S. sprinters eager to right Olympic wrongs. Surprise winner Lamont Marcell Jacobs was originally scheduled to race, but recently announced he’d be taking the rest of the year off as he faces whispers of doping accusations. Instead, there’s a bushel of Americans looking to make their mark. Fred Kerley won silver behind Jacobs. Trayvon Bromell, the pre-Olympic favourite, wound up missing the final entirely. And 39-year-old Justin Gatlin, who broke 10 seconds earlier this year, couldn’t even qualify for the Olympics. De Grasse’s lone non-American competitor is South Africa’s Akani Simbine, whose personal best of 9.84 eclipses the Canadian’s 9.89 mark set in Tokyo.
Bring on the cheers
Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.
Sha’Carri Richardson. That’s it. That’s the heading. Richardson, the American sprinter and podium contender in both the 100m and 200m, was infamously suspended one month after testing positive for marijuana following her victory at the U.S. Olympic trials in June. That left her unable to run the 100m in Tokyo, and she was subsequently left off the relay team as well. The 21-year-old posted a wind-aided time of 10.64 seconds at those trials, but her official season-best time of 10.72 is also good for the sixth-fastest all-time (though just third in 2021).
A podium’s worth of women’s 100m contenders. All three Olympic medallists — in order, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson — are also entered in the event against Richardson in Eugene. Thompson-Herah lowered the Olympic record en route to victory at 10.61, while the legendary Fraser-Pryce crossed the finish line in 10.63 at a June meet. The loaded field, which also includes two other Olympic finalists, is a fascinating look at what might have been. We know Richardson will come out of the gates with something to prove, but how will the Jamaicans treat the race? A loss could somewhat tarnish those Olympic medals, but then again those medals are already in their pockets. Watch a race preview below:
A potential goodbye in the women’s 200m. Allyson Felix, who became the most decorated female Olympic track athlete ever when she won her 11th medal in Tokyo, has previously announced she’d retire before Paris 2024 and recently called the Prefontaine classic her “victory lap.” Read more about Felix’s outlook here. Richardson will also compete, though her specialty is the 100m and her personal best of 22 seconds in the 200m wouldn’t have been enough for the podium in Tokyo. Another stacked entry list here includes bronze medallist Gabrielle Thomas and world champion Dina Asher-Smith.
A showdown in the men’s 200m. It’s Kenny Bednarek vs. Noah Lyles in a battle for the title of top American in the distance. It was De Grasse, of course, who won Olympic gold, but Bednarek and Lyles took silver and bronze, respectively. At certain points in the lead-up to Tokyo, both were favoured to take the top spot, so they may be running with a sour taste in their mouths. Also competing is Rai Benjamin, who broke a world record in a thrilling 400m hurdles Olympic final only to come away with silver. Aaron Brown, who finished sixth in Tokyo, will attempt to be the Canadian party-crasher this time around.
Canadian contenders in middle distances. Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Moh Ahmed is entered in the Bowerman mile, a meet-specific event named after Bill Bowerman, the legendary track coach and Nike co-founder. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who placed fifth in the 1,500m in Tokyo, will run it again alongside gold medallist Faith Kipyegon and silver medallist Laura Muir. Sage Watson will compete in the women’s 400m hurdles.
A possible world record in the women’s 5,000m. Dutch runner Sifan Hassan, who won Olympic gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 (not to mention bronze in the 1,500), isn’t done just yet. Now she wants to take over the world records in both, beginning with the 5,000 in Eugene. Because it’s on Friday night, there won’t be live coverage on CBC. Hassan says she’ll then attack the 10K at a Brussels meet in September.
Published at Thu, 19 Aug 2021 22:15:40 +0000