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Track & Field 101: Who's qualified for Team USA in Tokyo?

Track & Field 101: Who's qualified for Team USA in Tokyo?
Posted at 10:24 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 11:11:13-04

Team USA

The results of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in track and field, to be held June 18-27, 2021, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, will determine Team USA's rosters for the Tokyo Games.

You can stream the trials on NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app, connected devices and the networks of NBCUniversal.

Provided each athlete has already met the Olympic standard, the top three athletes in each event secure a spot on the team. This process presents an all-or-nothing, dramatic close to the qualification period, and until then, the rosters are largely empty.

As of spring 2021, two factions of Team USA's trials in track and field had already been completed: trials for the marathon were held prior to the COVID-19 pandemic declaration on Feb. 29, 2020, in Atlanta, and trials for the men's 50km walk were held about a month before that on Jan. 25, 2020, in Santee, California.

U.S. Trials Results

✓ denotes standard has been met

Marathon

The 2020 U.S. Olympic trials winners in the marathon
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 29: (L-R) Molly Seidel, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Sally Kipyego, Jacob Riley, Galen Rupp, and Abdi Abdirahman pose together after finishing in the top three of the Men's and Women's U.S. Olympic marathon team trials on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Men

SEE MORE: Rupp wins 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials

  1. Galen Rupp (2:09:20) ✓
  2. Jacob Riley (2:10:02) ✓
  3. Abdi Abdirahman (2:10:03) ✓
Women

SEE MORE: Tuliamuk wins 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials

  1. Aliphine Tuliamuk (2:27:23) ✓
  2. Molly Seidel (2:27:31) ✓
  3. Sally Kipyego (2:28:52) ✓

Men's 50km Walk*

  1. Andreas Gustafsson (4:12:11)
  2. **Matthew Forgues (4:14:42)
  3. Nick Christie (4:27:28)

*Unless Gustafsson, Forgues and/or Christie achieve the Olympic standard of 3:50:00 before May 31, 2021, they will not go to Tokyo. (Among the three athletes' personal bests, Gustafsson's 3:50:47 is the closest but was accomplished nine years ago in 2012.)

**Forgues announced in April 2020 he was retiring due to the Olympics' postponement, citing financial concerns.

Global qualification process

National Olympic Committees (NOCs) can enter up to three athletes in each event if all achieve the standard within the qualification period.

The NOCs are also allowed to enter a maximum of one qualified relay team per event, with a maximum of 16 quota places total per event. The top eight teams at the 2019 world championships in Doha, Qatar, secured a spot for their NOCs in Tokyo. The other eight are selected through either the 2021 world relays or world ranking system.

NOCs with no qualified athlete or relay team are allowed to enter their single best male and female athletes in one athletic event each, with the exception of the combined events, 10,000m and steeplechase.

Qualification relies heavily upon World Athletics' ranking system, new as of February 2019, versus just times for the Rio Olympics and prior Games. The rankings, as explained by the international governing body, are based on athletes' average scores over a certain number of competitions in a defined period of time, taking into account both the result itself and the place or competition in which it was produced.

Qualifying periods

Marathon and 50 km walk:

Jan. 1, 2019 to April 5, 2020
Dec. 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021

10,000m, 20 km walk, combined events:

Jan. 1, 2019 to April 5, 2020
Dec. 1, 2020 to June 29, 2021

All other events:

May 1, 2019 to April 5, 2020
Dec. 1, 2020 to June 29, 2021

Age requirements

All athletes must be born before Jan. 1, 2005.

Youth athletes born in or after 2003 can't compete in the throwing events, combined events, marathon, walks or 10,000m.

Junior athletes born in or after 2001 are not allowed to compete in the marathons or 50 km walk.

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