U.S. Olympic Trials: Allyson Felix closes strong, seals fifth Olympic berth

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·Yahoo Sports Columnist
·5 min read
Allyson Felix celebrates with her daughter Camryn after finishing second in the Womne's 400 Meters Final on day three of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 20, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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The grande dame of American track and field, Allyson Felix, made her fifth U.S. Olympic team, pulling from her wealth of experience to close brilliantly over the final 50 meters and surge into second place.

The top three women earned berths to Tokyo; Felix will be joined by Quanera Hayes and Wadeline Jonathas.

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Felix's time of 50.02 seconds is the fastest she has run in four years. In 2018, she gave birth to daughter Camryn via an emergency c-section and Felix's severe preeclampsia put her own life at risk. Camryn has inspired Felix to become an outspoken advocate for Black maternal health and female athletes not being penalized financially by sponsors when they opt to start a family and to get back on the track. 

On Sunday night, Felix spoke to NBC Sports' Lewis Johnson seated on the Hayward Field track, Camryn seated between her legs.

"The one thing I know how to do is fight," Felix said of her finish. "I wanted to use my experience, and man – to make the fifth one, so special."

She is the third American woman to make five Olympic teams for track and field, following high jumper Amy Acuff (1996 through 2012 Games) and 100m sprinter/hurdler Gail Devers (1988-2004 Games).

Hayes, who was part of the gold medal-winning 4x400 team with Felix at the 2017 world championships, had her own son on the track with her as she celebrated. The ascent of Jonathas continues: her family immigrated from Haiti to Massachusetts, and the 23-year-old only began running track as a high school sophomore. 

The women's 400m was one of eight finals Sunday, with two dozen Americans earning a berth on the hardest team to make in the world.

Women's 100m hurdles 

In the women's 100m hurdles, world record holder Keni Harrison, who missed out on the 2016 team, clinched her spot with a season's best 12.47 seconds. Brianna McNeal (12.51 seconds) was second and Christina Clemons (12.53 seconds) was third. 

McNeal, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, was allowed to compete in the U.S. trials while awaiting decision in her appeal of the five-year suspension she recently received from the Athletics Integrity Unit for tampering with part of the doping control process. 

McNeal's representatives say the suspension stems from a misunderstanding. If McNeal's suspension is not overturned, Gabbi Cunningham, who finished 0.005 seconds behind Clemons in fourth place, goes to Tokyo.

Men's 100m dash

Trayvon Bromell kept his 2021 undefeated streak alive, winning in 9.80 seconds. 

Not long ago Bromell was on a path to being America's next sprint star and made the 2016 Olympic team as a 21-year-old, but a heel injury led to two surgeries and a difficult rehab. Now he's headed back to the Olympics with Ronnie Baker (9.85 seconds, lifetime best) and Fred Kerley (9.86 seconds, lifetime best), the 2019 world championships bronze medalist in the 400m who dropped all the way down to the 100m this season and has been stellar.

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Men's 400m 

Michael Norman was expected to be the top finisher and ran to expectations, clocking 44.07 seconds. (Norman's mother, Nobue, was born in Japan and she also ran track.) 

Michael Cherry, who won two gold medals at the 2019 worlds in the men's 4x400 and the mixed 4x400, was second (44.35 seconds, lifetime best), and North Carolina A&T star Randolph Ross, who won the 400m at the NCAA championships nine days earlier on the same track, was third in 44.74 seconds.

Women's high jump, triple jump

World high jump leader Vashti Cunningham won her fourth U.S. title, clearing 1.96m (6 feet, 5 inches); Inika McPherson and Nicole Greene each jumped 1.93m (6 feet, 4 inches) to claim second and third, but neither of those women has cleared the Olympic standard of 1.96m so a more complicated system involving their world ranking points to determine whether they'll be allowed to compete in Tokyo.

In the triple jump, Keturah Orji (14.52 meters, 47-7.75) set a trials record on her sixth and final jump. She will be joined by first-time Olympians Tori Franklin (14.36, 47-1.5) and Jasmine Moore (14.15m, 46-5.25). Franklin made the team on her third try. Moore is a University of Georgia sophomore who was second in the event at NCAAs last week and made her trials debut.

Men's decathlon, hammer throw 

After finishing fourth in decathlon at the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials, Garrett Scantling left the sport to try out with the Atlanta Falcons, and then began a career as a financial adviser. He returned to training two years ago and was in tears Sunday night after clinching the berth that eluded him in 2016. Scantling's best-ever score of 8,647 in the grueling two-day, 10-event decathlon got him the win. 

Steven Bastien, with 8,485 points, and Zack Ziemek, with 8,471 points, also posted lifetime best scores and can say they are Olympians. 

The three men who clinched spots in the hammer throw had the performances of their lives: winner Rudy Winkler set an American record of 82.71 meters (271 feet, 4 inches), silver medalist Daniel Haugh had a personal best 79.39m (260-5), and bronze medalist Alex Young also had a personal best, 78.32m (256-11).

Day 4 of the U.S. Track and Field trials Monday will feature six finals, three in track and three in field events.

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