Allyson Felix advances, Sha’Carri Richardson out of the 100m on Day 1 of U.S. Track and Field Championships


Dynamic but inconsistent sprint star Sha’Carri Richardson will not be on the U.S. 100m team for World Championships. On the opening night of the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships, Richardson finished 5th in her heat in 11.31, well off her season best of 10.85, and not fast enough to advance to the semifinals. While the Dallas native is still entered in the 200, the early round elimination came as something of a surprise after Richardson finished 2nd at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic in May behind two-time Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica.

RELATED: 2022 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships TV, live stream schedule

21 years to the day after she competed at her first U.S. Championships, 13-time world champion Allyson Felix won her 400m heat and advanced to the semifinals. Felix spoke to On Her Turf earlier this week about her memories of those 2001 championships, where she was eliminated in the opening round the 200m (Marion Jones won the heat and went on to win the national title, of which she was later stripped). “My family found me somewhere in the stands and I was crying (because) I didn’t make the final,” Felix said. “And my brother (Wes) just looked at me like, ‘What did you think was going to happen? That you were going to beat Marion Jones? As a teenager?’” Felix will compete in the 400m semifinal Friday night on CNBC and Peacock.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Tokyo Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin cruised through to the next round in 54.11. Reigning world champion Dalilah Muhammad announced Wednesday that she had received a waiver from USATF exempting her from competing in Eugene this weekend before claiming her bye to the Worlds team. The three-time Olympic medalist has dealt with a hamstring injury this spring.

Middle-distance superstar Athing Mu, who won gold in the 800m in Tokyo at age 19, also advanced in her event. Two-time Olympian Ajee Wilson, who had a major breakthrough this indoor season to win her first global title at 2022 World Indoor Championships, was the fastest qualifier in 2:00.37.

RELATED: Dalilah Muhammad among Olympic gold medalists to miss USATF Outdoor Champs

In the men’s 800m, reigning world champion Donavan Brazier gutted out a win in his heat in 1:46.49, the fastest time of the round. Brazier, who has a bye to 2022 World Championships thanks to his win in 2019, revealed this week that he was dealing with bursitis in his right foot, and that he would take time after U.S. Championships to assess his fitness for Worlds. “He wants to represent himself and represent his country to the very best he can and if he doesn’t feel he can do that, we will shut him down,” his coach Pete Julian told reporters. Tokyo Olympians Clayton Murphy, Bryce Hoppel and Isaiah Jewett also advanced to the semifinals.

RELATED: How to watch 2022 World Track and Field Championships

Last summer, many raised eyebrows when 400m runner Fred Kerley dropped down in distance to contest the 100m. But he came away from Tokyo with an Olympic silver medal behind Italy’s Marcell Jacobs, and at the opening night of these championships, he looked to be back in podium-worthy form, running an easy 9.83 for the fastest time of the round, also a world lead. 2019 world champion Christian Coleman, back in action after missing the Tokyo Olympics while suspended for whereabouts failures (missed drug tests), won his heat in 10.08.

“You do kind of go into a shell,” Coleman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of his suspension earlier this year. “For the first time in my life this was something to not really be proud of. That part was tough. Eventually you come to terms with it and move forward and look forward to the future.”

Since he has the bye from 2019, Coleman doesn’t need to run all three rounds here in Eugene. His plans for the remainder of the 100m and the 200m, which starts Saturday, are still to be seen.

RELATED: 2022 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships Results

National titles were handed out in multiple field events, with Brooke Andersen winning the hammer ahead of Janee Kassanavoid and Annette Echikunwoke, Quanesha Burks winning the long jump ahead of Jasmine Moore and Tiffany Flynn and Andrew Evans taking home this discus title, with Dallin Shurts second and Sam Mattis third. 2019 world hammer champion DeAnna Price will also be on the team for Worlds by virtue of her wild card bye.

Coverage continues tomorrow with Day 2 of the meet at 10pm ET on CNBC and Peacock. For full results throughout the weekend, click here.

How to Watch 2022 U.S. Track and Field Championships

Day Key Finals Time (ET) Network
Thursday Women’s Hammer, Long Jump 6:50-11 p.m. USATF.TV
Friday 100m, Women’s Pole Vault 10 p.m.-12 a.m. CNBC | Peacock
Saturday 400m, 1500m, Women’s Hurdles 4-6 p.m. NBC | Peacock
Sunday 800m, Men’s 400m Hurdles 4-5 p.m. NBC | Peacock
200m, Men’s 110m Hurdles 5-6 p.m. USA | Peacock

Football takes significant step in Olympic push

Flag Football
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Football took another step toward possible Olympic inclusion with the IOC executive board proposing that the sport’s international federation — the IFAF — be granted full IOC recognition at a meeting in October.

IOC recognition does not equate to eventual Olympic inclusion, but it is a necessary early marker if a sport is to join the Olympics down the line. The IOC gave the IFAF provisional recognition in 2013.

Specific measures are required for IOC recognition, including having an anti-doping policy compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency and having 50 affiliated national federations from at least three continents. The IFAF has 74 national federations over five continents with almost 4.8 million registered athletes, according to the IOC.

The NFL has helped lead the push for flag football to be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. Flag football had medal events for men and women at last year’s World Games, a multi-sport competition including Olympic and non-Olympic sports, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Football is one of nine sports that have been reported to be in the running to be proposed by LA 2028 to the IOC to be added for the 2028 Games only. LA 2028 has not announced which, if any sports, it plans to propose.

Under rules instituted before the Tokyo Games, Olympic hosts have successfully proposed to the IOC adding sports solely for their edition of the Games.

For Tokyo, baseball-softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were added. For Paris, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved again, and breaking will make its Olympic debut. Those sports were added four years out from the Games.

For 2028, the other sports reportedly in the running for proposal are baseball and softball, breaking, cricket, karate, kickboxing, lacrosse, motorsports and squash.

All of the other eight sports reportedly in the running for 2028 proposal already have a federation with full IOC recognition (if one counts the international motorcycle racing federation for motorsports).

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Helen Maroulis stars in wrestling documentary, with help from Chris Pratt

Helen Maroulis, Chris Pratt

One of the remarkable recent Olympic comeback stories is the subject of a film that will be shown nationwide in theaters for one day only on Thursday.

“Helen | Believe” is a documentary about Helen Maroulis, the first U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling champion. It is produced by Religion of Sports, the venture founded by Gotham Chopra, Michael Strahan and Tom Brady. Showing details are here.

After taking gold at the 2016 Rio Games, Maroulis briefly retired in 2019 during a two-year stretch in which she dealt with concussions and post-traumatic stress disorder. The film focuses on that period and her successful bid to return and qualify for the Tokyo Games, where she took bronze.

In a poignant moment in the film, Maroulis described her “rock bottom” — being hospitalized for suicidal ideations.

In an interview, Maroulis said she was first approached about the project in 2018, the same year she had her first life-changing concussion that January. A wrestling partner’s mother was connected to director Dylan Mulick.

Maroulis agreed to the film in part to help spread mental health awareness in sports. Later, she cried while watching the 2020 HBO film, “The Weight of Gold,” on the mental health challenges that other Olympians faced, because it resonated with her so much.

“When you’re going through something, it sometimes gives you an anchor of hope to know that someone’s been through it before, and they’ve overcome it,” she said.

Maroulis’ comeback story hit a crossroads at the Olympic trials in April 2021, where the winner of a best-of-three finals series in each weight class made Team USA.

Maroulis won the opening match against Jenna Burkert, but then lost the second match. Statistically, a wrestler who loses the second match in a best-of-three series usually loses the third. But Maroulis pinned Burkert just 22 seconds into the rubber match to clinch the Olympic spot.

Shen then revealed that she tore an MCL two weeks earlier.

“They told me I would have to be in a brace for six weeks,” she said then. “I said, ‘I don’t have that. I have two and a half.’”

Maroulis said she later asked the director what would have happened if she didn’t make the team for Tokyo. She was told the film still have been done.

“He had mentioned this isn’t about a sports story or sports comeback story,” Maroulis said. “This is about a human story. And we’re using wrestling as the vehicle to tell this story of overcoming and healing and rediscovering oneself.”

Maroulis said she was told that, during filming, the project was pitched to the production company of actor Chris Pratt, who wrestled in high school in Washington. Pratt signed on as a producer.

“Wrestling has made an impact on his life, and so he wants to support these kinds of stories,” said Maroulis, who appeared at last month’s Santa Barbara Film Festival with Pratt.

Pratt said he knew about Maroulis before learning about the film, which he said “needed a little help to get it over the finish line,” according to a public relations company promoting the film.

The film also highlights the rest of the six-woman U.S. Olympic wrestling team in Tokyo. Four of the six won a medal, including Tamyra Mensah-Stock‘s gold.

“I was excited to be part of, not just (Maroulis’) incredible story, but also helping to further advance wrestling and, in particular, female wrestling,” Pratt said, according to responses provided by the PR company from submitted questions. “To me, the most compelling part of Helen’s story is the example of what life looks like after a person wins a gold medal. The inevitable comedown, the trauma around her injuries, the PTSD, the drive to continue that is what makes her who she is.”

Maroulis, who now trains in Arizona, hopes to qualify for this year’s world championships and next year’s Olympics.

“I try to treat every Games as my last,” she said. “Now I’m leaning toward being done [after 2024], but never say never.”

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