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Diamond League preview: Femke Bol, 400m hurdles in Stockholm spotlight

Data is coming this weekend for one of the most anticipated head-to-heads of the Paris Olympics.

After Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone races her first 400m hurdles in nearly 22 months on Friday night, Femke Bol of the Netherlands contests the event for the first time in nearly nine months at a Diamond League meet in Stockholm.

Peacock airs live coverage from Stockholm on Sunday from 12-2 p.m. ET.

McLaughlin-Levrone and Bol combine to own 11 of the 12 fastest times in history, led by McLaughlin-Levrone’s world record of 50.68 seconds from the 2022 World Championships.

While McLaughlin-Levrone took a break from the hurdles in 2023, Bol ascended to clock 51.45 seconds -- the third-fastest time in history -- and win the world title in 51.70 -- the eighth-fastest time in history.

McLaughlin-Levrone hasn’t been beaten in the hurdles in more than four years. In their last head-to-head, McLaughin-Levrone defeated Bol by 1.59 seconds at the 2022 Worlds.

Has Bol closed the gap? This weekend will provide preliminary data, but the answer might not come until Paris.

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

Women’s Shot Put -- 11:20 a.m. ET
Two-time world champion Chase Jackson won her last three competitions on three different continents, but world silver medalist Sarah Mitton of Canada has the world’s best throw this outdoor season of 20.68 meters. They go head-to-head here with the winner possibly being the Paris Olympic favorite.

Men’s Pole Vault -- 11:27 a.m. ET
Mondo Duplantis is the Olympic and world champion and has broken the world record on eight occasions since the start of 2020. One thing he hasn’t done is break the world record on home soil in Sweden. He gets a chance here with some of the world’s best to challenge him, including the top three men on the U.S. all-time list: K.C. Lightfoot, Sam Kendricks and Chris Nilsen.

Men’s 400m Hurdles -- 12:04 p.m. ET
Brazil’s Alison dos Santos races three days after clocking the world’s fastest 400m hurdles time ever this early in a year and beating Olympic and world champion and world record holder Karsten Warholm on Warholm’s home turf in Oslo. Dos Santos ran 46.63 in Oslo. In Stockholm, anything under 46.78 will mean that dos Santos, Warholm and American Rai Benjamin (neither of whom are in this field) will have combined for the 15 fastest times in history, all in the last three years.

Women’s 400m Hurdles -- 1:32 p.m. ET
Bol faces a field that includes 2023 World bronze medalist Rushell Clayton of Jamaica, who owns the world’s best time this year of 53.72. Bol ran faster than that in all 11 of her 400m hurdles races in 2023.

Women’s 200m -- 1:42 p.m. ET
In two 200m races this season, world champion Shericka Jackson of Jamaica clocked 22.82 and 22.97, putting her outside the world’s 50 fastest women so far this year. Jackson, who ran the second-fastest time in history (21.41) to win last August’s worlds, races again here. The other headliner is American Brittany Brown, who won Thursday in Oslo in 22.32, with Jackson taking fifth.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will bid to defend her Olympic 400m hurdles title rather than run the flat 400m at Olympic Trials.