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Reigning Olympic, world champions not entered in U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials

Kerron Clement

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 18: Kerron Clement of the United States celebrates after placing first in the Men’s 400m Hurdles Final on Day 13 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

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Kerron Clement, the Rio Olympic 400m hurdles gold medalist, and Nia Ali, the reigning world 100m hurdles champion, are among several recent global medalists who did not enter the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

The entry deadline was Tuesday night for the meet in Eugene, Oregon, that starts next week. The most notable athletes not on the current entry lists (and not expected to be added given it’s past deadline):

Clement: The 2016 Olympic champion and 2007 and 2009 World champion in the 400m hurdles last competed on July 23, 2020, and last ran a 400m hurdles at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships, placing eighth. Clement does not have the automatic qualifying time for Olympic Trials (49.50 since Jan. 1, 2019).

Ali: The 2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2019 World champion in the 100m hurdles last competed July 29, 2020. She last ran a 100m hurdles at the 2019 Worlds, where she lowered her personal best in the semifinals and final. Ali, who earned Rio Olympic silver a year after having son Titus, earned her first world title a year after having daughter Yuri. In April of this year, her partner, Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, said that he and Ali were expecting a baby in May, according to the Canadian Press.

Aries Merritt: 2012 Olympic champion and world-record holder in the 110m hurdles. In 2015, he earned world bronze with kidney function at less than 20 percent. He underwent a transplant after returning home, receiving a kidney from sister LaToya. Ten months later, Merritt missed the Rio Olympic team by .01 at Trials. Merritt raced four times since the start of 2019 and has not hit the automatic qualifying time for Trials. He said in April 2020 that Tokyo would be his final Olympic bid.

Tori Bowie: Converted from the long jump in 2014 and earned a sprint medal of every color in Rio. Then she won the 100m at 2017 Worlds. Bowie re-added the long jump, placing fourth at 2019 Worlds. This spring, she strictly sprinted with a best 100m of 11.36 seconds (wind aided), racing as recently as May 30.

Tyson Gay: The world’s top sprinter before Usain Bolt ascended. Gay swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 2007 Worlds. He’s since been set back by injuries and was suspended one year in 2013 for doping for which Gay and his teammates were stripped of their 2012 Olympic 4x100m silver medals. In 2016, Gay appeared to win his first Olympic medal, a 4x100m bronze, but the U.S. was disqualified minutes after the final for a baton exchange out of the zone. Now 38, Gay’s best 100m since the start of 2019 was 10.36, well off the automatic qualifying time for Trials of 10.05. Gay said in an interview published in February that he planned for 2020 to be his last Olympic bid, before the one-year postponement.

Kori Carter: Rebounded from missing the 2016 Olympic 400m hurdles team by one spot to win the 2017 World title. Carter switched to the 100m hurdles for 2018, placing sixth at nationals. She last finished a 400m hurdles race in July 2019.

Other notables entered Olympic Trials without automatic qualifying standards for their events but could be added to fields by early next week. They include 2008 Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt, 2016 Olympic 100m hurdles bronze medalist Kristi Castlin and Chaunte Lowe, who in 2017 was upgraded from sixth place to bronze in the 2008 Olympic high jump due to other jumpers’ doping. Lowe returned to competition this year for the first time since 2017.

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