Allyson Felix punched her ticket to a fifth Olympic games while Trayvon Bromell cemented his status as favourite to succeed Usain Bolt as world’s fastest man with victory in the 100m at the US track and field trials in Oregon on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Felix, the only woman in history to win six Olympic track gold medals, produced a signature display to snatch second in the 400m at Hayward Field and clinch her place at next month’s Tokyo Games.
Felix, who resumed her track and field career two years ago after life-threatening complications arising from the premature birth of her daughter, looked to be fading out of contention coming down the stretch.
But the 13-time World Championship gold medallist dug deep to reel in the field and claim second place, a result which was greeted with the loudest roar of the night.
“Man, it has been a fight to get here and one thing I know how to do is fight, and I just did that all the way home,” said an elated Felix, whose time of 50.02 seconds was her fastest in the event since 2017.
Quanera Hayes – another returning mother – won in 49.78sec while Wadeline Jonathas claimed the other ticket to Tokyo after coming third in 50.03.
Felix, who will retire after next month’s Olympics, said she hoped her qualification would send a message to other mothers.
“I think society tells us a lot of times if you have a child your best moments are behind you but that’s absolutely not the case,” Felix said.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Bromell blasted to a wire-to-wire victory in the 100m, winning in 9.80sec.
The 25-year-old from Florida, who has made a remarkable return to form this year after a career ravaged by injuries, took first ahead of Ronnie Baker (9.85sec) and Fred Kerley (9.86sec.)
Justin Gatlin meanwhile failed in his quest to make a fourth Olympic games at the age of the 39, coming home in eighth place in 10.87sec.
Bromell, the fastest man in the world over 100m this year with a season’s best of 9.77sec, will head to Japan as hot favourite for the 100m.
No American sprinter has won the Olympic 100m crown since Gatlin took gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
Elsewhere Sunday, Michael Norman won the 400m to clinch his first Olympic ticket, winning in 44.07sec. Michael Cherry was second in 44.35sec while Randolph Ross was third in 44.74sec.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, world record holder Keni Harrison made up for her 2016 trials heartache after a convincing victory in 12.47sec.
Harrison was the favourite for Olympic gold in 2016 but failed to qualify for the Rio games at the trials where she finished sixth in the final.
Brianna McNeal, who won gold in Rio in Harrison’s absence, finished second in Sunday’s final with a time of 12.51sec.
Christina Clemons was third in 12.53sec.
McNeal’s participation at this week’s trials is shrouded in controversy.
The 29-year-old is facing a five-year suspension for an anti-doping rules violation, and was only allowed to compete in Eugene because she is awaiting a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
McNeal, who served a one-year suspension in 2016 after three whereabouts violations, could be kicked off the team if she loses her appeal, which is expected to be heard sometime in the next few weeks.
McNeal said the uncertainty surrounding her Olympic participation did not tarnish Sunday’s result.
“I can celebrate,” McNeal said. “I’m just happy that I had the opportunity to compete here. It’s been a long journey so for the next few weeks I’m just gonna pray.”
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