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Olympic Trials: Day 8

TrackTown, USA: The biggest news again is the weather. Hottest-ever recorded in Portland, Eugene (110°), and even in British Columbia. Be safe out there, people. Due to the weather, the men's 5000m final was rescheduled to 10a, instead of the late afternoon when the temperatures would be at their highest. We drove to the track to watch Duck senior Cooper Teare, and Duck alum Eric Jenkins compete. It was still brutally hot and the racers were not going to break any world records today. Paul Chelimo won in 13:26.82, followed by Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid. Cooper Teare finished fourth, but as he does have the Olympic standard, there is a chance he may go to Tokyo. Why? Because Fisher and Kincaid have both qualified in the 10000m and there is a good chance one/both could opt to choose to run only one distance. Time will tell. Here is a short video of the finish:

After the race, the stadium was cleared of all spectators. We would all return in the early afternoon to watch the women's heptathlon and the rest of the final events. We had breakfast with Mary, Steve and Rita, then headed back to our air conditioned motorhome, while Mary and Steve checked out of their hotel. We would be joined at the track this afternoon by Terry, his daughter, Casey, and Cory and her boyfriend, JR.

After checking out of their hotel, Mary and Steve went to the Oregon Track Club's Tree House, where they ran into Cooper Teare! Pose, please:

When we returned to the track at 3p, there was quite a flurry of activity. Confusion. The meet had been suspended due to extreme temperatures. Several athletes had fainted. Officials had fainted. The "ambient" temperature (temperature 6-feet above the track) was 150°. We were not allowed to enter the stadium and fans inside the stadium were told to go home and return at 8:30p, when the meet would resume.

Except we were the only people in our gang of eight to have a home. Mary and Steve had checked-out of their hotel. Cory, JR, Casey, and Terry were here for the day from Portland. We solved the cooling-down problem by having everyone back to our bus with all three air conditioners blasting. We served snacks and hung-out - needing to kill FIVE hours in 100+ temperatures. (NOTE: 6'9" JR could stand in our bus without stooping!) With no normal person opting to dine outdoors in extreme heat, and restaurants only using some their indoor tables due to COVID, it was tough to find a table for 8, but I finally managed to get us in at decent Mexican spot we had visited a few days ago. Five hours later, the eight of us returned to our seats at Historic Hayward Field for the final night of the 2020 Olympic Trials. (Yep, they are still calling these games the 2020 Olympics.) Every event tonight was a final.

JR snapped this gorgeous shot of the stadium this evening. The tower was lit-up in red, white, and blue - the first time we had been at the stadium in the dark.
Two lovely ladies, trying to keep their cool. I am wearing a Matthew Centrowitz button from back when he was in college.

The women's heptathlon was a disaster. The poor women were so robbed by having to compete in the mid-day heat before the meet was suspended. Two women passed out - and Taliyah Brooks was taken away to a local hospital in an ambulance. One of the competitors, Lindsay Flach, is 18-weeks pregnant! The event was won by Annie Kunz, with a personal best score, and Kunz has the Olympic standard.

The meet was short and sweet. Before shutting-down this afternoon, JuVaughn Harrison (LSU) won the high jump with a stellar 7 foot, 7-3/4 flop. This evening Harrison also won the long jump with a 27 foot, 9-1/2 leap. Do you recall two weeks ago JuVaughn Harrison also won these events in the NCAA meet? Guess who is going to Tokyo? First Class, I hope.

On the first day of the Olympic Trials, we witnessed a world record in the men's shot put by Ryan Crouser. On the last night of the Olympic Trials, we were treated to another world record - in the women's 400m hurdles:

Wowser! What an amazing race. Can't wait for this race at the Olympics.

Athing Mu (who has suddenly turned pro after only one year at Texas A&M) won the women's 800m final with a world-leading time of 1:56.07, breaking the meet record and racing a personal best. Duck alum, Raevyn Rogers finished second in a personal best 1:57.66, and Ajeé Wilson took the final seat on the plane to Japan.

And then it was time for the men's 1500m final. Could college freshman, Cole Hocker (University of Oregon) take-down the gold medalist from Rio?

Hoo Boy! Wasn't that fun! Though Hocker does not have the Olympic standard, there is talk he will be able to race in Tokyo as there are not enough men that have met the standard to fill all 45 spots. Time will tell. Either way, we now know Cole Hocker has what it takes to race with the big boys.

Matthew Centrowitz and Cole Hocker taking their victory lap.

Matthew Centrowitz stopped to say hello to us on the victory lap. Dave ran in college with Matthew's dad, so we’ve known him for years. Matthew seemed very excited to see DT, and they discussed the race. He thanked me for all the encouraging text messages I had sent him this week.

Thank you, Rita, for sending these photos to us!

As the men's 5000m race had been conducted this morning, the final event tonight was the men's 200m. Noah Lyles, Noah Lyles, Noah Lyles! What an amazing athlete. He ran the fastest time in the world this year (19.74) for the victory. Kenny Bednarek was second - in a personal best 19.78, and 17-year-old high schooler Erriyon Knighton was third, also with a PB, 19.84. Knighton will be the youngest man (wait, is he technically a man?) to compete on the US men's T&F Olympic team since Jim Ryan in 1964.

This meet had so many interesting back-stories. So many new names and faces. What a loaded team America is sending to the Olympics. Even with the terrible extreme temperatures (weren't we freezing and soaking wet at the NCAA's two weeks ago?), we had so much fun, learned so much, and were blessed to spend so much time with our dearest and oldest friends.


Man, are we beat. Until my next update, I remain your gold medal correspondent.