Christian Coleman and the five biggest losers from weekend USTAF Olympic trials

Christian Coleman and the five biggest losers from weekend USTAF Olympic trials

Mark Kinyanjui 11:30 - 25.06.2024

Christian Coleman and Athing Mu are among the five biggest losers from last weekend's USTAF Olympic trials.

The first part of the US Track and Field Olympic trials came to an end on Monday, with half of the team heading to Paris for the major showdown being confirmed.

 While some athletes celebrated sealing top-three places in various categories and securing their spots at the Olympic Games, others fell short and will feel they should have done better. 

Here, Pulse Sports profiles the five biggest losers from the weekend meet in Eugene, Oregon.

Christian Coleman

Reigning World Indoor Championships gold medalist Christian Coleman was shown the exit from the road to Paris in the 100m event. 

Coleman finished the race in fourth place, as seen via the Peacock stream, with the top three spots claimed by Noah Lyles, Kenny Bednarek, and Fred Kerley, respectively. 

While Coleman’s 9.93 seconds finish matches the Olympic standard, failing to secure a place among the top three means his Paris dreams have come to an abrupt halt.

The same track that earned him the World Championships silver medal in 2022 turned out to be the stage where his hopes crumbled like a card castle.

 Coleman is known for his amazing start, but as he approached the 60-meter mark, his strides began to lengthen before he appeared to tumble, losing momentum as Lyles, Kerley, and Bednarek overtook him. Coleman still has a chance to make it in the 200m race in the coming week, but his weekend was far from ideal.

Athing Mu

Reigning Olympic champion Athing Mu will not be competing in Paris this summer in her signature event. In a shocking women’s 800-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Mu tripped and fell in the first 200 meters.

 The U.S. record-holder was unable to recover and finished last in the race on Monday in Eugene, Oregon. The crash occurred just before the second turn, where the field bunched together while jockeying for position. Mu was running in the middle of the pack when she went down.

Once Mu was out of contention for her third U.S. title, Nia Akins, Michaela Rose, Juliette Whittaker, and Allie Wilson battled up front for the remainder of the two laps.

 Despite making it through the semifinals with the best time, Mu’s unthinkable fall means she will have to wait four years for another shot at Olympic glory.

Paul Chelimo

Kenyan-born American Paul Chelimo failed to make the cut in the men’s 10,000m team for the Olympics. 

Chelimo could only manage a 10th-place finish in 28:18.31, but all hope is not lost as he has a chance to prove a point in the 5000m. 

He disclosed that he will try to make his third Olympic team after representing Team USA in both the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, where he earned medals in both events.

Kaylin Brown

Arkansas freshman Kaylyn Brown fell one spot short of making the United States Olympic team in the women’s 400 meters.

 Brown, 19, finished fourth at the Olympic Trials on Sunday night at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 50.07 seconds.

 Under normal conditions, Brown would have easily made the championships, having achieved the qualification time. However, being the person in fourth place is never good, as it shows you got near yet so far.

There is a silver lining for Brown. She is a strong candidate to be part of the U.S. 1,600m relay group at the Paris Olympics, having finished fourth. 

Brown ran 49.71 on Saturday night for the fastest time ever in the Olympic Trials semifinals, but she struggled to close strong on Sunday night, running her third race in three days. She ran a personal-best 49.13 at the NCAA Championships, the fastest time by an American.

Parker Valby

Parker Valby just missed out on Olympic qualification by finishing fourth in the final of the women’s 5000m. Valby's lack of experience against the big guns was exposed in the race. 

Heading into the Olympic trials, Valby was on a hot streak of form. Dominant at the college level, she hasn't yet had to learn how to run in large packs.

As the field bunched in the first 200 meters, Valby zigzagged through several runners to get her accustomed spot up front. 

She locked into a steady rhythm of 71- and 72-second laps, a little under 15:00 pace for 5,000 meters.

 A single-file train that included five Olympians set up behind the brave 21-year-old. Valby kept cranking out consistent laps to the finish, which she reached in a personal best of 14:51.44, but doing so got her fourth place. 

At this level, you need to be able to kick off a fast pace to be competitive.

When St. Pierre passed Valby for the lead with two laps to go, Cranny and Schweizer immediately covered the move. Valby started to lose contact with the three and drifted farther behind over the final two minutes.

 Like St. Pierre and Cranny, Valby has more racing to do at the Trials. She’s entered in Saturday’s 10,000-meter final and could conceivably make the team in that event.

These athletes, despite their setbacks, have shown resilience and determination. Some still have chances in other events, while others will need to regroup and prepare for future competitions.