U.S. Olympic trials rescheduled for June 2021 in Eugene, Oregon


(Reuters) – The postponed U.S. Olympic track and field trials have been rescheduled for June 18-27, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon, USA Track and Field (USATF) announced on Tuesday.

The trials, the selection meeting for the American team for the Tokyo Games, were originally planned for mid-June this year in Eugene, but were postponed when the Olympics were delayed for a year because of the novel coronavirus.

The Tokyo Games are now set for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.

The American trials are considered one of the top athletics competitions in the world with their cut-throat status meaning only the top three finishers in each final are selected for the Olympics provided they have met the Games’ qualifying standards.

Only the U.S. marathon teams have been selected so far, chosen during men’s and women’s trials in Atlanta in February and later confirmed as the American representatives for the 2021 Tokyo Games after the Olympics were postponed for a year.

Rio Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp, surprise package Jake Riley, who returned to the sport after having Achilles surgery in 2018, and Somalian-born Abdi Abdirahman, 43, made the men’s team. Abdirahman was selected for his fifth Olympics.

Kenyan-born American Aliphine Tuliamuk won the women’s race with Molly Seidel second in her first marathon. Sally Kipyego, the Kenyan 2012 Olympic 10,000 metres silver medallist who is now a U.S. citizen, claimed the third and final spot.

The Eugene trials will end 33 days before athletics starts at the Tokyo Games. The length of the break is identical to the gap between the 2016 trials and athletics at the Rio Olympics.

The trials competition will take place in a 25,000-seat stadium being built on the University of Oregon campus that will host the 2022 athletics world championships, which were also delayed for a year because of the postponed Olympics.

“With the construction happening at Hayward (Field) and the warm, sunny weather we are getting, when you walk by the stadium, you truly get to see how spectacular that venue is going to be,” Michael Reilly, CEO of the organisers TrackTown USA, told the Eugene Register-Guard newspaper.

“The fact that we now have dates confirmed and can get on with doing all we do to welcome the athletes, spectators, and media, I could not have asked for a better start to the day.”

The trials events each day will not change from the 2020 schedule and existing ticket holders will have their tickets automatically rolled over to the new dates in 2021, USATF said.

Eugene, a hotbed for athletics in the United States, has hosted the past three U.S. Olympic trials and six in total.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Alex Richardson/Christian Radnedge/Ken Ferris