Track and field is back. Like never before.
The Impossible Games air live on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. The meet is a repurposed version of a Diamond League stop in Oslo.
Thursday’s competition will have no fans, limited events and fewer athletes, including some solo races. It’s the closest thing to a top-flight international track and field meet since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The headliners: the two top-ranked pole vaulters in history — Swede Mondo Duplantis and Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie, world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm of Norway and the world’s best cross-country skier, Norwegian Therese Johaug, who is racing a 10,000m alone.
The regular Diamond League calendar is scheduled to resume in August.
Here are the Oslo entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):
1:35 p.m. — Men’s Pole Vault
2:05 — Men’s 1000m
2:08 — Men’s Discus
2:15 — Women’s 200m Hurdles
2:25 — Women’s 600m
2:35 — Women’s 300m Hurdles
2:43 — Men’s 300m Hurdles
2:50 — Men’s 2000m
2:58 — Men’s 25K
3:25 — Men’s 100m
3:30 — Women’s 10,000m
3:50 — Men’s Shot Put
4:15 — Women’s 3000m
Here are three events to watch:
Men’s Pole Vault — 1:35 p.m.
Duplantis and Lavillenie duel for the second time during the pandemic. The first, one month ago, was dubbed “The Ultimate Garden Clash.” Duplantis pole vaulted from his family’s backyard in Louisiana, Lavillenie from his home in France and world champion Sam Kendricks from his native Mississippi in a virtual event. Duplantis and Lavillenie tied for the win by clearing five meters 36 times in a half-hour. In February, Duplantis, 20, broke Lavillenie’s six-year-old world record by clearing 6.17 and 6.18 meters on consecutive Saturdays. For the Impossible Games, Duplantis flew from Louisiana to Stockholm last weekend, then planned to take a six-hour drive to Oslo. Lavillenie will again be jumping from home in France, but Duplantis will have company at the Oslo stadium in the form of 19-year-old Norwegian Pal Haugen Lillefosse.
Men’s 300m Hurdles — 2:43 p.m.
Warholm, the two-time reigning world 400m hurdles champion, races alone here. He is targeting the fastest time in history in the 300m hurdles, a rarely contested event. The record of 34.48 seconds was set by Brit Chris Rawlinson in 2002.
Men’s 2000m — 2:50 p.m.
This is a group event, similar to speed skating’s team pursuit. In the Oslo stadium will be Team Ingebrigtsen, featuring brothers Filip, Henrik and Jakob and two more Norwegians. In Kenya will be Team Cheruiyot, featuring the last two world 1500m champions — Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi, plus three more Kenyans. The winner will be the team with the best overall time for the top three runners.
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