Here’s a quick look at who to watch during the last four days of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Like hippies making a pilgrimage to Woodstock, the country’s top track stars and their fans have converged in Eugene, Ore., for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials—the most exciting track meet in the country with fierce do-or-die Olympic implications—at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field.
It’s fitting the trials have returned to Track Town, U.S.A., for the second time in four years to decide who will represent the U.S. at the Olympics in London this August. The excitement for track and field in Eugene is unparalleled anywhere else in the country, as this usually sleepy little college town has come alive to celebrate the country’s best athletes.
The middle and long-distance events—those ranging from 800 to 10,000 meters—always garner the most media and fan attention here. Many of the country’s most celebrated athletes in these disciplines—from Steve Prefontaine and Mary Decker-Slaney in the ’70s and ’80s to modern-day stars such as Nick Symmonds, Jenny Simpson and Galen Rupp—have passed through Eugene on their way to making Olympic teams.
Two of the aforementioned stars–Rupp and Symmonds–have already punched their tickets to London, by virtue of winning their races during the first week of competition, which opened last Friday with Rupp and Amy Hastings taking home 10,000-meter titles. The first-half action concluded on Monday night as hometown favorite Symmonds came from behind to win his fifth outdoor national championship in the 800 meters while Alysia Montano led from wire to wire to take the women’s race.
The drama that unfolds in the remaining races over the final four days of competition will keep fans on the edges of their seats as the rest of the Unites States’ Olympic roster gets filled out one day at a time. Over the following pages we give you a rundown of who to watch during the remainder of these exciting mid-distance and distance events, which take place from June 28 through July 1.