Tokyo Olympics: De Grasse succeeds Bolt as McLaughlin breaks new ground

By Sports Desk August 04, 2021

Andre De Grasse succeeded Usain Bolt as the men's 200 metres Olympic champion on a day Sydney McLaughlin broke new ground at Tokyo 2020.

Five years on from being tipped as the Jamaican legend's heir apparent after claiming silver over the same distance at Rio 2016, De Grasse went one better to clinch a first Olympic gold of his career.

Elsewhere there was a Kenya one-two in the men's 800m final, while Wojciech Nowicki celebrated success in the hammer.

Here's a round-up of the action from the athletics on Wednesday.

DE GRASSE MAKES GOOD ON RIO PROMISE

After pushing Bolt all the way in the 200m at Rio 2016, big things were expected of De Grasse but several injury woes in the intervening years stifled his progress a little.

But he has peaked at just the right time and has ultimately lived up to the billing. World champion Noah Lyles was electric out of the blocks, yet it was De Grasse who was lightning quick driving out of the bend.

With a time of 19.62 seconds, De Grasse ultimately held off the charge of Kenny Bednarek, who took silver for the United States ahead of countryman Lyles.

At the finish line there was a nice message from De Grasse, who told Lyles: "You push me man, you motivate me."

MCLAUGHLIN FOLLOWS WARHOLM LED

Just a day on from Karsten Warholm sensationally smashing the men's 400m hurdles world record, McLaughlin followed suit in the women's race.

Defending champion Dalilah Muhammad, who also ran under the previous WR time, was leading but was overtaken by McLaughlin on the finish straight – the American clocking a hugely impressive 51.46s.

"I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go. I just thought 'run your race'. The race doesn't really start until hurdle seven," she said.

In the women's 3000m steeplechase, Uganda's Peruth Chemutai claimed gold in a time of 9:01.45.

Courtney Frerichs had opened up a sizeable lead but Chemutai was closing by the final lap and passed her American rival on the back straight, safely negotiated the final obstacle and coasted over the line unchallenged with Frerichs taking second.

KORIR TAKES 800M GLORY, NOWICKI'S LIFETIME BEST DELIVERS GOLD

It was a Kenya one-two in the men's 800m, with Emmanuel Korir coming home in a time of 1:45.06 ahead of countryman Ferguson Rotich.

Peter Bol had taken on the pace but Korir made his move around the final bend. Bol ended up outside of the medal places with Poland's Patryk Dobek third.

In the men's hammer, Nowicki threw a whopping 82.52m to win the men's hammer. He followed up with three more throws over 81m.

The Pole had won bronze at the past four global championships and was third place at Rio 2016.

His compatriot Pawel Fajdek – a four-time world champion – finished third in his first Olympic final with an 81.53, with Norwegian Eivind Henriksen throwing a national record 81.58m to earn silver.

ELSEWHERE…

Grant Holloway, the overwhelming favourite in the men's 110m hurdles, qualified fastest for the final in 13.13, while Sifan Hassan – aiming to complete a 1500, 5000 and 10,000m treble at Tokyo 2020 – qualified for the final of the former event, having already won 5000m gold.

Dutchwoman Anouk Vetter leads the women's heptathlon through four events, although world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson had to withdraw after injuring her calf when running the 200m, and in the men's decathlon Canada's Damian Warner is in the gold-medal position after five.

Related items

  • Tyquendo Tracey's disciplinary hearing suspended indefinitely, leaving sprinter’s future in limbo Tyquendo Tracey's disciplinary hearing suspended indefinitely, leaving sprinter’s future in limbo

    The disciplinary hearing for Jamaican sprinter Tyquendo Tracey has been adjourned indefinitely, casting uncertainty over the two-time national champion's future in athletics. The decision came as a surprise after Tracey's attorneys had been expecting to receive a crucial statement on Monday, ahead of the scheduled June 25 hearing.

    The suspension of the hearing was communicated in a letter received by Tracey's legal team on Wednesday, June 19. The letter, issued by the Chairman of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's (JAAA) disciplinary committee, stated: "The Chairman of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's disciplinary committee has further reviewed the complaint against him and decided that the matter be adjourned sine die."

    Tracey faces charges for two breaches of the JAAA's disciplinary policy following his public criticism of the selection process for Jamaica's 4x100m relay team at the World Championships in Budapest last year.

    His allegations, made in a 15-minute YouTube video in August 2023, accused Maurice Wilson, the technical director of Jamaica's delegation to the World Athletics Championships, of “bias” and “favouritism.” Tracey claimed Wilson favoured Kadrian Goldson, a sprinter from GC Foster College, where Wilson serves as principal, for the relay team despite Goldson not qualifying through the National Championships.

    Tracey finished fifth in the men's 100m final at those championships, while Goldson placed seventh. According to established protocol, the top six finishers are typically selected for the relay pool. In his video, Tracey alleged a pattern of such behaviour by Wilson and labelled him "a very evil and vindictive person."

    The fallout from Tracey's video was immediate and severe. He reported that after discussing the issue with reporters in Budapest, he was approached by Security Liaison Officer Steve McGregor, who informed him that his accreditation would be withdrawn and he would be asked to leave the team village.

    Wilson, responding to Tracey's accusations, described them as “libellous and defamatory.” He stated, “My family is coming under attack on social media. The posts are out there. There is no way I will not have to seek redress in reference to my reputation. Track and field is a part of what I do. I’m also involved with youngsters that I mentor and try to assist so there is no way that I can allow this to just be a passing fire.”

    The disciplinary hearing was initially set for over a week ago but was postponed until June 25, two days before the start of the Jamaica National Championships on June 27, where the team for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games will be selected. With the hearing now suspended indefinitely, the situation remains unresolved, leaving Tracey's immediate athletic future in limbo.

  • Michael Johnson launches groundbreaking Grand Slam Track League Michael Johnson launches groundbreaking Grand Slam Track League

    Michael Johnson, the Olympic champion and former world record holder in the 200m and 400m, has unveiled his latest venture: a lucrative new athletics league called Grand Slam Track (GST). Aimed at revolutionizing the track and field landscape, GST promises to bring together the world's elite runners with a significant financial incentive, offering USD$100,000 as the top prize.

    Set to kick off in April 2025, the league will feature a prize fund of USD$12.6 million spread over four events annually. Two of these events will be hosted in the United States. Each year, 48 athletes will be contracted to the league, competing in two events per meet across the four meetings, dubbed "Slams."

    "We're revolutionizing the track landscape," said Johnson. "They deserve to be compensated. The structure of the sport in the past has not compensated those athletes to take that risk to go and compete against the best athletes in the sport."

    The league has already attracted top-tier talent, with American Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and World Champion, and world record holder in the 400m hurdles, being the first athlete to join. "I firmly believe that this is the step forward that track needs to take it to another level," McLaughlin-Levrone stated.

    Grand Slam Track will feature a unique format where each meet hosts 96 athletes, split into two categories: GST Racers and GST Challengers. The 48 core GST Racers, divided equally among six event groups for both men and women, will compete in all four Slams each year. They will receive an annual base compensation and can earn additional prize money. The GST Racing Committee, which selects these athletes, focuses on global championship titles, top rankings, global following, and existing rivalries.

    The other 48 athletes at each Slam, known as GST Challengers, will be selected based on recent performances and intriguing matchups. They will be paid appearance fees per event and are also eligible for full prize money. Both Racers and Challengers will compete in two events over three days during each Slam.

    The event categories are designed to showcase the versatility and skills of the world's best athletes, including short sprints (100m and 200m), short hurdles (100m hurdles for women or 110m hurdles for men, and 100m), long sprints (200m and 400m), long hurdles (400m hurdles and 400m), short distance (800m and 1500m), and long-distance (3000m and 5000m). Athletes' placements in each event are critical as their scores across two events will determine their final ranking for that Slam. The scoring system awards ten points for first place, eight points for second, six points for third, five points for fourth, four points for fifth, three points for sixth, two points for seventh, and one point for eighth place. In the event of a tie, the quickest combined time across the two events will decide the Slam winner.

    Johnson's Grand Slam Track is poised to create a significant shift in the track and field world, providing athletes with better financial rewards and a platform to showcase their talents against the best in the world. With substantial backing and a well-thought-out structure, GST is set to become a premier destination for elite runners globally, promising thrilling competitions and redefining the sport's financial landscape.

     

     

     

     

  • Stephen Francis criticizes JAAA for men’s 4x400m relay qualification failure; offers suggestion to possibly beat June 30 deadline Stephen Francis criticizes JAAA for men’s 4x400m relay qualification failure; offers suggestion to possibly beat June 30 deadline

    Renowned athletics coach Stephen Francis has publicly criticized the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) for what he described as gross incompetence, which has placed the country on the cusp of failing to qualify for the men’s 4x400m relay at this summer’s Paris Olympic Games.

    Francis, known for his no-nonsense approach, did not mince words as he laid bare his frustrations with the governing body’s handling of the situation, as the country’s recent bid to make it into the top 16 in the world, again ended in disappointment.

    The team of Reheem Hayles, JeVaughn Powell, Kimar Farquharson and Tarees Rhoden, gallantly clocked 2:59.75 against a Barbados team, and an international quartet at the NACAC New Life Invitational in Bahamas on Sunday, but failed to run faster than the 2:59.12 seconds set by Zambia in March.

    That was Jamaica’s third attempt at qualification, following two failures at the World Athletics Relays, also held in the Bahamas, in May. Fourteen teams qualified from the World Relays with the next best two teams, based on times run during the qualifying window, being added.

    France (2:58.46) and Zambia, currently occupy those slots, with Jamaica now in a race against time to surpass one of the two before the close of the qualification window on June 30.

    Should the Jamaicans fail to do so, it would be the first time in decades that the country would be absent from the men’s 4x400m at any major championship.

    Francis believes all this could have been avoided had JAAA’s president Garth Gayle appointed competent individuals with immense knowledge of how to manage the situation accordingly.

    “Garth Gayle is a trying man, but he consistently gets letdown by the appointments he makes. Jamaica historically has treated senior athletics as an adjunct to junior athletics, so the same people are there, school principals and their technical committees, making these decisions on issues they know absolutely nothing about,” Francis told SportsMax.TV in an exclusive interview.

    “They know nothing about senior athletics. They might have some kind of resume in (managing) juniors, being a high school principal or a coach at a high school, so (the country suffers) as a result of these personnel, because they keep making stupid decisions when it comes to seniors,” he added.

    To drive home his point, Francis, a highly decorated coach, explained that the country’s teams to the World Athletics Relays were chosen based on early season times.

    “That is rubbish…unheard of, and only people who know nothing about senior athletics would ever even suggest that. (Those with proper knowledge) know that in April, nobody starts to run because people are more peaking for the summer, so what they should have done for the World relays is to run the teams you expect to run down in June. You make them aware early enough that, ‘we're going to select so try and get in shape because we need to qualify, we need to get to the final,” Francis reasoned.