Today is the first day of the 2024 Olympic Trials: Six Deep thoughts on June 21, 2024

1. The Men’s Decathlon will be spetacular. The first five events (100 meters, Long Jump, Shot put, High Jump and 400 meters), will give us a good idea on who is going to follow in the footsteps of Jim Thorpe (1912), Bob Mathias (1948, 1952), Milt Campbell (1952, 1956), Rafer Johnson (1956, 1960), Bill Toomey (1968), Bruce Jenner (1976), Dave Johnson (1992), Dan O’Brien (1996), Chris Huffins (2000), Bryan Clay (2004), Bryan Clay (2008), Ashton Eaton (2012), Ashton Eaton (2016). As Coach Harry Marry noted, “the decathlon is ten chances to make ten mistakes”. One event at a time, one day at a time for the World’s Best Athlete title.

2. The Men’s and Women’s 400 meter heats begins today at 3:06 and 3:41 respectively. Strong contenders in both. The 400 meters is a tough, tough race. The human body can run about 35 to 40 second all out. After that, it is guts. The smart ones manage their energy so that they have something left in the tank for that last brutal 100 meters. Watch these rounds with curiousity.

3. The Women’s 800 meters goes off at 4:17, and they will be tough. The U.S. has a strong group of women who can run 2:00 or faster, and Sage Hurta-Klecker looks like the top one right now. Where will Ajee’ Wilson be in fitness? Watch this round to see who the surprises are, and there will be surprises, perhaps two from Stanford.

4. The Men’s 1,500m has some tough competitors, from Yared Nuguse, to Sam Parsons, to Eric Holt, to some big surprises! We will not see Matt Centrowitz, Jr. who withdrew earlier today due to an injry. Matt is the only American to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1,500m since 1908, when he did it in 2016. This team will be a battle for all three positions and some surprises will ensue.

5. The women’s 5,000 meters is a tough race, and one of the toughest is Elle St. Pierre, who will be racing the 5,000m and the 1,500m. The newly crowned World Indoor 3000m gold medalist is one tough athlete, having had baby Ivan just over a year a half ago. What will Elle do tonight?

6. And the only final of the night is the Men’s 10,000m. This will be tough, as only 3 men competing tonight have made the 10,000m Olympic Standard. The weather is expected to be in the mid 80s, so do not expect a fast race for the 25 lapper. Watch for the big kicks over the last 1000 meters as the crowd of distance crazed fans just loose it for a big kick. This is Hayward field, home of the late Steve Prefontaine, his ghost will be here tonight, as he held the AR for 10,000m from 1974 to 1979, when Craig Virgin broke it with his 27:39.

Enjoy Day 1.

Photo by Kevin Morris