Allyson Felix has few races left in her career, which makes her appearance at Thursday’s Diamond League stop in Rome, likely her last career race on that circuit, all the more special.
Felix, a 36-year-old in her farewell season, lines up against the reigning Olympic 100m, 200m and 400m champions in the marquee event of the meet, live on Peacock on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. ET. CNBC airs coverage Saturday from 1-3 p.m. ET.
Felix, a seven-time Olympic champion, is joined in the 200m field in Rome by Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah, who swept the 100m and 200m at the last two Olympics, and Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who won the 400m at the last two Olympics.
Starting with Felix, who won the last flat sprint of the 2012 London Games, this trio combined to win the last seven Olympic women’s flat sprint events.
Felix said Wednesday that it will “very likely” be her last Diamond League race. She plans on competing at the USATF Outdoor Championships in two weeks, and the world championships next month, both in Eugene, Oregon. She said she may focus on doing “a mixed relay or something like that” at worlds, should she make the U.S. team.
Worlds will not be her final event. She plans a race later this season that will “kind of culminate everything for me,” she said Wednesday.
Though Felix has called the 200m her “baby,” she shifted focus to the 400m over the last decade.
In Tokyo, she took individual bronze in the event. This year, she ranks fourth among Americans with a 50.71-second clocking last Sunday.
The top three at the USATF Outdoor Championships in two weeks make the world championships 400m team individually, and it’s expected the top eight will make the relay pool. Quanera Hayes, the Olympic Trials winner, has a bye onto the team as the reigning Diamond League champion.
Here are the Rome entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):
12:30 p.m. ET — Men’s Discus
1:15 — Men’s Shot Put
1:35 — Women’s Pole Vault
1:55 — Men’s High Jump
2:03 — Women’s 400m Hurdles
2:13 — Men’s 400m
2:21 — Women’s 1500m
2:33 — Men’s 200m
2:38 — Women’s Long Jump
2:42 — Women’s 800m
2:51 — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
3:08 — Women’s 200m
3:15 — Men’s 5000m
3:37 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
3:52 — Men’s 100m
Here are five events to watch (statistics via Tilastopaja.org and World Athletics):
Men’s Discus — 12:30 p.m. ET
The deepest field of the meet with the top six Olympic finishers, led by gold medalist Daniel Stahl of Sweden. However, Slovenian Kristjan Ceh, who was fifth in Tokyo, beat Stahl in the first two Diamond League events this season, including a Diamond League record 71.27-meter throw to become the 10th-best performer in history. Sam Mattis, who was eighth in Tokyo for the best American finish in the event since 2004, is also in the Rome field.
Women’s Pole Vault — 1:35 p.m. ET
Katerina Stefanidi and Katie Nageotte, the last two Olympic gold medalists, duel for a third time in as many weeks on the Diamond League. But it’s 2016 Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris who beat them both in Birmingham and Rabat. Morris owns the world’s top outdoor clearance this year — 4.73 meters — but that is not typically a medal height at global championships.
Women’s 800m — 2:42 p.m. ET
Olympic champion Athing Mu races on the Diamond League for the first time since lowering her American record at last year’s Pre Classic. Mu missed Pre two weeks ago, citing returning from COVID. Her most recent race was May 12. In Rome, she could get tested by 2019 World champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda and Brit Jemma Reekie, who was fourth in Tokyo. Mu is gearing up for nationals, where she’ll face Raevyn Rogers and Ajee Wilson, and worlds (assuming she qualifies), where she would likely face Olympic silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson, who owns the world’s top time this year of 1:57.72. Mu ran 1:55.21 at the Olympics and 1:55.04 to win Pre in an undefeated 2021.
Women’s 200m — 3:08 p.m. ET
Felix, Thompson-Herah and Miller-Uibo go head-to-head-to-head for the first time since the 2017 Pre Classic. Thompson-Herah is the favorite given her Rio and Tokyo gold medals and second-fastest time in history in the event, though she is the 23rd-fastest woman so far this year (after two low-key May races in Kingston). Felix is 14th-fastest in the world this year from her season opener in April (22.40 seconds). If she wants to make the three-woman world team at 200m, she will likely need to get close to or under 22 seconds at nationals. The field also includes 2019 World champion Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain and Olympic 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica.
Women’s 100m Hurdles — 3:37 p.m. ET
Reigning Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico faces reigning world champion Nia Ali. In Tokyo, Camacho-Quinn missed the world record (12.20) by six hundredths of a second while running into a headwind. Last Sunday, she ran 12.43 seconds into a 1.4 meter/second headwind, the fastest time ever into that much of a headwind. She may be on world record watch this summer, if not in Rome.
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