Trayvon Bromell, an afterthought in sprinting a year ago, is now an Olympic 100m medal contender. He might be the favorite for gold in Tokyo.
Bromell, a former teenage prodigy whose early pro career was derailed by injuries, earned his most significant 100m victory in seven years at the USATF Grand Prix at the Oregon Relays on Saturday.
Bromell, now 25, prevailed in 10.01 seconds into a small headwind in the first pro meet at the renovated Hayward Field, beating a field that included world 200m champion Noah Lyles (second in 10.17).
“What I’m doing here is not even about the times, it’s about the story behind it,” Bromell told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “It ain’t even about the injuries. That’s what I’m trying to get people to understand. I feel like we’re still blinded by seeing me back running. The story is God is powerful.”
Bromell’s last 100m win at a meet this big came seven years ago at Hayward in the 2014 NCAA Championships. A Baylor freshman, he became the first 18-year-old to break 10 seconds with legal wind (and still the only one to do so).
Bromell, who was eighth in the Rio Olympics, is coming back from career-threatening leg injuries, including two full years away from competition. More on his story here.
Bromell, Lyles, 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin and Olympic and world medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada are the primary 100m contenders to succeed the retired Usain Bolt after the suspension of world champion Christian Coleman for missing drug tests.
Athletes are preparing for the U.S. Olympic Trials in two months, also at Hayward, where the top three in most individual events qualify for the Tokyo Games.
In other events, Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the 400m in 49.08 seconds, the fastest time ever this early in a year. After, Miller-Uibo repeated that she is focusing on the 200m for the Tokyo Olympics, where the 200m and 400m overlap. Miller-Uibo’s request to get the Olympic schedule changed to better accommodate a 200m-400m double was denied.
Michael Norman held off training partner Rai Benjamin, 44.67 to 44.97, in the men’s 400m. Norman, who ran 43.45 in April 2019, was plagued by injuries later that year but remains an Olympic medal favorite. Benjamin is world silver medalist in the 400m hurdles.
Brit Laura Muir ran away with the 1500m in 4:01.54, prevailing by 2.82 seconds. Olympic bronze medalist Jenny Simpson, in her first 1500m since the October 2019 World Championships, dropped back in the last lap and finished ninth.
“I’ll call that a rust buster,” Simpson tweeted. “Not the kind of day I train for but that happens sometimes. Eyes on June.”
Allyson Felix finished seventh in the 100m — not one of her primary events — won by Nigerian Blessing Okagbare. Felix, the 2012 Olympic 200m champion and 2016 Olympic 400m silver medalist, has said she plans to enter both of those races at trials as she bids to make her fifth and final Olympics at age 35 and first as a mom.
“It’s not the greatest day for me,” Felix said. “The plan is just working on things. … There’s a lot of work to do.”
Earlier Saturday at the Drake Relays in the 100m hurdles, world-record holder Keni Harrison hit the first hurdle and fell through the second hurdle but walked off.
Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 36-year-old 2008 Olympic champion who unretired as a mom, was seventh in 13.28 in her second competition since September 2018. It will likely take faster than 12.6 to make the Olympic team.
Two-time world champion Sam Kendricks won an Olympic Trials pole vault preview over second- and third-ranked Americans Chris Nilsen and Jacob Wooten. Kendricks, the world’s second-ranked pole vaulter, cleared 5.86 meters.
Come Tokyo, Kendricks will look to upset 21-year-old, Louisiana-raised Swede Mondo Duplantis, who last year cleared the highest heights in history indoors and outdoors. Duplantis’ outdoor world best is 6.15 meters.
In Eugene, Rudy Winkler won the hammer with an 81.98-meter throw, the world’s best since July 2017. Winkler, now the second-best American in history behind 1996 Olympic silver medalist Lance Deal, will try this summer to become the first American to win an Olympic hammer medal since Deal.
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