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Monaco Diamond League: Olympic previews, including 400m hurdles showdown

The men’s 400m hurdles is arguably track’s most anticipated race of the Paris Games. The three fastest men in history will all line up on Friday, exactly four weeks before the Olympic final.

Karsten Warholm, Rai Benjamin and Alison dos Santos are all entered in a Diamond League meet in Monaco (Peacock, 2-4 p.m. ET). They combine to own the 15 fastest times in history, all run in the last three years.

That list is led by the Norwegian Warholm’s world record 45.94 seconds from the Tokyo Olympic final, where both he and Benjamin went under Warholm’s previous record.

Since, the three men have met on three occasions with each picking up a win: the Brazilian dos Santos at the 2022 World Championships, the Norwegian Warholm at the 2023 World Championships and the USC-trained Benjamin most recently at the 2023 Diamond League Final.

Friday’s winner likely goes into the Paris Games as the favorite.

Who is competing at Diamond League Monaco?

Here are the Monaco entry lists. Here are five events to watch:

Women’s Pole Vault -- 1:10 p.m. ET
American Katie Moon and Australian Nina Kennedy, the co-2023 World champions, are joined in the field by the breakout star of 2024, Brit Molly Caudery. From July 2023 to July 2024, Caudery improved her personal best by more than a foot. On June 22, she cleared 4.92 meters, the world’s best clearance since the start of 2022. Winner here will likely be the Olympic favorite.

Men’s 400m Hurdles -- 2:04 p.m. ET
Benjamin goes in with the world’s best time of 2024 -- 46.46 from the Olympic Trials, the fifth-fastest time in history. Dos Santos (46.63 on May 30) and Warholm (46.70 on two occasions) have been fast this year, too. Given the competition and the proximity of the Olympics, all of them could be swifter in Monaco.

Men’s 800m -- 2:23 p.m. ET
Last Sunday in Paris was the best men’s 800m race since the historic 2012 Olympic final. Algerian Djamel Sedjati, Kenyan Emmanuel Wanyonyi and Frenchman Gabriel Tual ran times that made them the third-, fourth- and fifth-fastest men in history (Wanyonyi entered as the third-fastest in history). Sedjati and Tual return for Monaco, and they are joined by world outdoor champion Marco Arop of Canada and American Bryce Hoppel, the world indoor champion.

Men’s 1500m -- 3:34 p.m. ET
American Yared Nuguse has never beaten Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway in four career head-to-heads. Doing so in Monaco could be huge for Nuguse, who was runner-up to Cole Hocker at Olympic Trials. Nuguse was the top American at 2023 Worlds in fifth and has a shot to become the third American in the last four Olympics to win a medal in the event. Leo Manzano won silver in 2012, and Matthew Centrowitz took gold in 2016.

Women’s 100m -- 3:52 p.m. ET
If anybody is to break up the U.S.-Jamaica dominance in the 100m in Paris, it will likely be a woman from this race. Julien Alfred of Saint Lucia, Marie-Josée Ta Lou-Smith of Ivory Coast and Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain were the world’s fastest women in 2023 outside of the U.S. and Jamaica. Alfred, who trains at the University of Texas, is the world’s second-fastest woman this year (10.78) out of the projected Olympic field.