U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials: Day 1 Recap
On a damp and mildly chilly day in Eugene, Oregon, the track and field world was buzzing. Tracktown USA: Hayward Field at the University of Oregon was set to showcase to the country’s best track and field athletes, all competing for their spot on the United States Olympic Team and their chance to represent their country in London this summer at the Olympic Games. Day one was full of drama and suspense as Oakley’s Bryan Clay and Lolo Jones took to the track for their first attempts at returning to the Olympics.
Decathlete Bryan Clay is no stranger to the Olympic qualification process. Clay is the defending Olympic gold medalist and took home the silver medal in Athens in 2004. If Clay makes this year’s Team USA, he will attempt to become the first man in Olympic history to win three medals in the decathlon. Clay’s competition this year is tough, as he faces off with youngster Ashton Eaton and defending World Champion Trey Hardee.
In the first of ten events on the weekend, the men squared off in the 100m-sprint. Eaton blew away the field in front of his home crowd, breaking the current decathlon world record in the 100m, with his time of 10.21. Clay followed in second place, .24 second behind. The long jump came next and saw another world record shattered at the hands of Eaton. His distance of 8.23 meters was enough to hold off Clay again, who placed sixth in the event with a mark of 7.40 meters. Clay was the runner-up in the shot put as well, this time trailing the World Champion, Hardee. Clay’s first attempt was a toss of 15.63-meters, earning him second place. Fourth on the day was the high jump, which saw Clay take the sixth spot, jumping a height of 1.96 meters (6 feet, 5 inches) along with two other competitors, earning him 767 points for his weekend total. Finally, in the 400-meter dash Clay placed second in his heat and 14th overall with a time of 51.21.
After five out of ten events, Bryan Clay sits in third place in the overall point standings. He needs to remain in the top three overall, on top of hitting the Olympic “A” qualification mark of 8200 points to make his third Olympic team this summer. Clay is taking the slow and steady approach and looks to be in good shape after half of the events. He sits in third place with 4252 points, 168 points ahead of the next competitor.
On the women’s side, the much-anticipated return of Lolo Jones to the Olympic Trials came early in the weekend as she competed in her 100-meter hurdles qualification on day one. Following a false start from another runner on their first attempt out of the blocks, the race got off smoothly. Jones came out of the blocks a bit slower than she had hoped, but ultimately settled down and finished third in her heat with a time of 13.01, advancing her into the semi-final round on Saturday.
“It felt really good,” Jones said. “But it was a bad race. It was a bad start. I relaxed after the false start.”
Day two will feature the completion of Bryan Clay’s weekend in the decathlon, along with the semi-finals and finals of the women’s 100-meter hurdles, where Jones looks to qualify for London. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the weekend.