Both the Canadian and U.S. Olympic trials wrapped up this weekend, and between Lindsey Butterworth’s and John Gay’s Olympic-qualifying wins, Athing Mu’s world-leading 800m performance at Hayward Field and Sydney McLaughlin’s world record run in the 400m hurdles, there’s a lot to unpack. Take a look at this week’s weekend recap for some of the highlights.
The Canadian trials
The Canadian trials in Montreal this weekend saw several strong performances, with a few more athletes hitting standard in their events. Among them was Butterworth, who won the women’s 800m in 1:59.19, upsetting the Canadian record-holder, Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, and the 2019 Canadian champ Madeleine Kelly and breaking the two-minute barrier for the first time. This was an Olympic auto-qual for Butterworth, who was also the winner of the 2018 Canadian championships. Bishop-Nriagu came in second in 1:59.50, and Kelly rounded out the podium in 2:00.30.
After months of trying, Vancouver’s John Gay finally achieved Olympic standard in the 3,000m steeplechase in 8:20.68, nearly two seconds below the 8:22.00 standard. What makes his performance even more impressive is that he ran the entire race solo, as he was far ahead of his competitors. Second place went to Alex Drover in 8:50.17, and Cole Dinsdale came in third in 8:51.67.
Julie-Anne Staehli and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot were the champions of the women’s and men’s 1,500m. Staehli finished in a massive PB of 4:08.83, followed by Lucia Stafford in 4:09.61 and Mariah Kelly in 4:10.95. Philibert-Thiboutot won the men’s race in 3:40.78, followed by Cameron Proceviat in 3:43.37 and Aaron Ahl in 3:43.52. This was Philibert-Thiboutot’s fourth national title.
Keegan Gaunt won the Para women’s T13 1,500m and set a Canadian record in 4:57.54.
The U.S. Olympic trials
There was plenty of action happening south of the border as the U.S. trials wrapped up with several exciting finals. On a hot, sunny Saturday morning, Emily Sisson took the win in the women’s 10,000m in 31:03.82, setting a meet record in the process. Rounding out the podium in an extremely strong field (13 women had entered with an Olympic-qualifying seed time) were Karissa Schweizer in 31:16.52 and Alicia Monson in 31:18.56. Sisson lapped everyone in the field save for the top seven, delivering one of the most dominant performances of the weekend.
Sunday was the final day of the U.S. trials, and was arguably the most exciting. Sydney McLaughlin ran a world-record-breaking 51.90 in the 400m hurdles, making her the first woman to break 52 seconds in the event. She was followed by the now-former world-record holder, Dalilah Muhammed, who ran to second place in 52.42. Third place went to Anna Cockrell, in 53.70.
It was Paul Chelimo who ran to victory in an exciting men’s 5,000m final. After leading the entire race (and gesturing to his opponents several times to stop clipping his heels), he closed his final lap in 52.83, holding his lead by forcing Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid out to lane four. Chelimo won the race in 13:26.82, followed by Fisher in 13:27.01 and Kincaid in 13:27.13.
Thanks to the extremely hot temperatures, the men’s 1,500m was rescheduled for Sunday evening, and the athletes delivered a performance worth waiting for. College sophomore Cole Hocker outkicked reigning Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz to take the win in 3:35.28. Centrowitz finished close behind him in 3:35.34, followed by 2019 NCAA champ Yared Nuguse in 3:36.19.
Athing Mu continued her stellar season in the women’s 800m, winning Sunday’s final in a world-leading time of 1:56.07, putting her second on the American all-time list. She was followed by Raevyn Rogers in 1:57.66 and American record-holder Ajee Wilson, who came back from 6th place to finish third in 1:58.39.