Elaine Thompson and Tori Bowie match up Saturday for the first time since they shared the podium three times in Rio, live on Universal HD and NBC Sports Gold.
Thompson and Bowie headline the women’s 100m at the second Diamond League meet of the season in Shanghai. Meet coverage runs from 7-9 a.m. ET.
Thompson, who swept the 100m and 200m in Rio, ought to be the favorite. The Jamaican clocked 10.75 seconds in her first 100m since Rio on April 15. It was slightly wind-aided (2.2 meters/second), but only two women have broken 11 seconds with legal wind this year, and neither of them are in the Shanghai field.
Bowie, who took 100m silver and 200m bronze in Rio, ran an even windier 10.80 (3.3 meters/second tailwind), also on April 15. Bowie followed that up with a 22.09-second 200m on April 28, with a slight headwind, the fastest time in that event in the world this year.
However, Thompson clocked 22.19 with greater headwind (2.3 meters/second) in a Diamond League 200m last week.
With two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce out due to pregnancy, the 24-year-old Thompson and 26-year-old Bowie could be the head-to-head force of the 100m for some time. Shanghai will mark the second time they’ve been in the same 100m race.
Shanghai start lists are available here. Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):
5:45 a.m. — Women’s shot put
6:35 — Men’s high jump
6:45 — Men’s pole vault
6:50 — Men’s discus
6:50 — Women’s discus
7:03 — Men’s 400m hurdles
7:10 — Women’s 1500m
7:24 — Men’s 100m
7:27 — Men’s long jump
7:34 — Women’s 400m
7:42 — Men’s 800m
7:51 — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
8:11 — Women’s 100m
8:20 — Men’s 200m
8:27 — Women’s 5000m
8:53 — Men’s 110m hurdles
Here are five events to watch:
Men’s High Jump — 6:35 a.m. ET
Olympic champion Derek Drouin of Canada faces his toughest field since Rio. It includes Olympic silver medalist Mutaz Barshim of Qatar, world silver medalist Zhang Guowei of China and the top American, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard.
Drouin may be somewhat vulnerable to his first outdoor loss since last July given he has been training for the decathlon with an eye on multi-eventing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Men’s Pole Vault — 6;45 a.m. ET
All three Olympic medalists, plus the 2015 World gold and silver medalists, make up the best field-event group of the Shanghai meet.
Brazilian Thiago Braz and France’s Renaud Lavillenie both compete outdoors for the first time this year after Braz surprisingly prevailed in their Rio duel. They’re joined by Rio bronze medalist Sam Kendricks of the U.S., plus the top two from the 2015 Worlds — Canadian Shawn Barber and German Raphael Holzdeppe.
All of these men will be chasing the best outdoor clearance in the world this year, 5.90 meters by 17-year-old Swede Armand Duplantis, a Louisiana high schooler who is not in Shanghai.
Men’s 800m — 7:42 a.m. ET
Two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha races for the first time since September. He’ll be looking for a better outing in Shanghai than a year ago, when he faded to fifth after being caught off-guard by the starter’s gun.
Rudisha faces no other Olympic medalists in the Shanghai field, but it does include 2015 World silver medalist Adam Kszczot of Poland. Plus, both Kenyans who made the 2015 World and 2016 Olympic finals with Rudisha.
U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, who is not in the Shanghai field, has the fastest time in the world this year of 1:43.60.
Women’s 100m — 8:11 a.m. ET
This field includes five of the eight Olympic finalists, headlined by the gold and silver medalists Thompson and Bowie. The winner between them becomes the early favorite for the world championships in August.
Potential Shanghai spoilers include Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Men’s 110m hurdles — 8:53 a.m. ET
A total of 20 men in history have broken 13 seconds in the 110m hurdles. Six of them are in Shanghai. It is slated to be the first time six men with sub-13 times already to their name race a 110m hurdles. Shanghai had a field of six sub-13 men last year, but two of them false started out.
It features the last two Olympic champions — Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt — the last two world champions — Russian Sergey Shubenkov and American David Oliver — and Olympic medalists Hansle Parchment (Jamaica) and Orlando Ortega (Spain).
Shanghai has different meanings for different men. McLeod is already two tenths faster than any other man in the world this year. He’s looking to cement his world championships favorite status.
Ortega, after taking silver to McLeod in Rio, beat the Jamaican at their last Diamond League meeting last summer. He could be the most worthy challenger.
Shubenkov hasn’t competed internationally since 2015 due to Russia’s track and field ban. Merritt, Oliver and Parchment are all looking for bounce-back seasons after missing the Rio Olympics.
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