Grant Holloway and Rai Benjamin dominate men’s hurdles at Olympic Trials
Posted On June 27, 2021
EUGENE, Ore. – The men’s 110-meter hurdles world record has been around for almost a decade. The mark of the 400 hurdles was virtually untouchable, dating back to 1992.
But on a balmy night at the Olympic track and field trials in the United States on Saturday, those two records nearly fell – and in just 45 minutes.
In a dominant back-to-back display, the 110-meter hurdles Grant Holloway and the 400-meter hurdles Rai Benjamin each came within a fraction of a second of immortality at Hayward Field, heading for victory in their respective finals – and showing why the United States States will likely be favored to sweep the men’s hurdles events at the Tokyo Olympics.
Holloway, the 23-year-old product from Florida, was set to break Aries Merritt’s world record in his semi-final, finishing one hundredth of a second off the all-time mark with a time of 12, 81 seconds. He went on to win the final with a time of 12.96.
Benjamin, meanwhile, won the 400-meter hurdles final by more than a full second, clocking 46.83. It was just 0.05 seconds off the world record set by Kevin Young almost five years before the birth of 23-year-old Benjamin.
“I looked at it and I was like, ‘Dang, man. Zero point five,’” Benjamin said with a smile. “It hurts a bit to know it was right there and I couldn’t catch it. But it’s just more fuel for the fire, man. It’ll come when it happens.”
For Holloway, flirting with the record was neither surprising nor particularly emotional. He said he felt after his preliminary round that he could accomplish something special. It boiled down to execution.
“I wasn’t pushing the record,” Holloway said. “The main focus was just to get settled in and let everyone know that I’m here to win. I told everyone in my first interview: I didn’t come to this party for myself. sit on the wall. I came to this party to dance. “
After his run, Holloway – the reigning world champion in his event – ran to the stands to hug his trainer, Mike Holloway. The two are not related, but the elder Holloway has coached the hurdler champion since his college days in Florida.
Grant Holloway said they had a heated exchange on Friday, but he can’t imagine anyone else coaching.
“The analogy I use is that we’re both great apes in the jungle, and we both want to beat our chests,” said the hurdler. “We both want to be heard. We’re both Holloways. At the end of the day, we’re both (sworn) to each other. But it’s all about love. “
With Holloway and Benjamin in the men’s hurdles events and the likely combination of Keni Harrison, Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad on the women’s side, it is entirely possible that the United States will leave Tokyo with a sweep of the hurdles gold. .
They could also break world records along the way.
“I think there is more out there in the tank,” Benjamin said. “Much more there.”
Sisson Cruises at 10,000 meters
Scorching temperatures prompted USA Track & Field to move the women’s 10,000-meter race on Saturday morning. But the heat hardly slowed down Emily Sisson.
Sixteen months after retiring from the Olympic Marathon Trials, Sisson walked away from a crowded field and won the 10,000 meters by a full 13 seconds, setting a new competition record of 31: 03.82. She recorded negative split times – increasingly faster times – in each of the final eight laps of the 25-lap race.
“I kept telling myself ‘If you feel the heat, everyone else too,’ said Sisson, 29, who led for about three-quarters of the race.
Karissa Schweizer and Alicia Monson finished second and third respectively. Schweizer also qualified in the 5,000 meters and said she hopes to compete in both races in Tokyo.
Eye on Knighton
For the second night in a row, 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton came face to face with reigning world champion Noah Lyles in the men’s 200 meters. And for the second night in a row, Knighton won.
A four-star football rookie before turning pro earlier this year, Knighton edged Lyles to win his semi-final with a blistering time of 19.88 seconds, a new personal best. He noted in a post-race press conference that he also slowed down 20 meters from the finish, indicating he could run an even faster time in Sunday’s final – which will also feature Kenny Bednarek, Olympic 100-meter qualifier Fred Kerley and Terrance Laird, who recently won two national titles at LSU.
Victories for Reese, Nageotte
Brittney Reese is heading to her fourth Olympics after winning the long jump final on Saturday with a best jump of 23 feet, 4 inches. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist jumped three inches earlier than defending NCAA champion Tara Davis, who placed second and also qualified for Tokyo.
Meanwhile, in the women’s pole vault, Katie Nageotte crossed the bar at 16 feet 2¾ inches to set a new competition record and a world lead. Morgann LeLeux and reigning Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris placed second and third respectively to complete the squad.