2012 - 20K Olympic Trials Race Walks
Racewalk.com is excited to bring you continued coverage of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Here at historic Hayward Field both the Men's and Women's 20K races will be held on the track that has given birth to so many legends. The men's 50K trials was one for the ages. Can we expect the same this weekend? Racewalk.com is not one for making predictions, but they're a lot to be excited about.
First, let's look at the sometimes confusing process of qualifying for the Olympic Track and Field Team in the race walking event. Gone are the old days of whomever finishes in the top three spots automatically qualifies for the Olympic Team. This could be true if we had three athletes in each race that walked at or faster than the time termed the Olympic A standard. For the men this is 1:22:30 and for the women it is 1:33:30. For the men, only youngster Trevon Barron has walked a time fast enough for an A standard (1:22:12). Unfortunately, none of the U.S. women have walked fast enough to achieve the standard.
Instead in the Men's race we have John Nunn (1:23:51) with an Olympic B standard (1:24:30) and a few athletes in range of the Olympic B standard in Tim Seaman (1:25:58), coach of Trevor Barron and a total of 9 athletes in the Trails, and Patrick Stroupe (1:26:20). For the women, we have six women with the Olympic B Standard of 1:38:00: Maria Michta (1:34:52), Teresa Vail (1:35:36), Erin Gray (1:36:08), Miranda Melville (1:37:08), Joanne Dow (1:37:10) and Lauren Forgues (1:37:41). In addition, it is conceivable that both Jill Cobb (1:39:01) who is on the comeback trail and Katie Burnett (1:40:42) could walk the B standard at the race.
So what does all this mean? Let's first look at the Men's race. If no one walks an A standard in the race, then we send one and only one man to the Olympics. That man will be the winner of the race as long as the winner of the race finishes in a time less than the Olympic B standard or is someone that already has an Olympic B standard. Strategically, if Trevor walks an Olympic A standard time, then he is virtually guaranteed a spot on the team. (It would take 3 finishers ahead of him to displace him. An unlikely event). So, without any inside knowledge, if the weather conditions are good, I see Trevor walking near A standard pace so he can easily control his destiny. If that happens, then the path of the other walkers is simple. Stay in contact with Trevor. If on A standard pace, then it's not about winning, but crossing the line with an A standard. If more than one person does, all those crossing with the standard (up to 3 people) will make the U.S. Olympic Team. This means if Trevor brings his literal A game, then Nunn, Seaman, Stroupe or anyone else must walk an A standard to make the team. If however, Barron is not up to the A standard, then the winner of the race (assuming the finishing time is under 1:24:30) is the sole qualifier for the Olympic Team. If no one in the race walks under 1:24:30 then then either Trevor Barron or John Nunn will qualify if they finish the race. The first of the duo across the line will be named to the team. If no one walks an Olympic B standard and neither Trevor nor John finish the race, I believe then we send no one.
The women's race is a little simpler. If anyone crosses the line with an Olympic A standard, the first three to do so, qualify for the team. Barring anyone reaching the A standard in the race, it comes down to a race amongst those with the B standard and those capable of walking the B standard in the Trials race. With a B standard time as the winner, only the winner will gain a berth on the Olympic Team. This will make for a great strategic race. Hopefully, another for the ages.
The complete list of qualifiers is:
USA - 20 Kilometer Men (14 under Olympic Trials standard of 1:36:00 ):
This list is courtesy of Vince Peters.
Coverage of the 50K Olympic Trials Race Walk is made possible by sales of our race walking books and DVDs in addition to my trekking book,
Our upcoming clinics include:
Upcoming talks on the technique of race walking and my Great Treks project are at REI in Yonkers NY on Sept 15th. Please email Jeff Salvage for details.
The Men's 20K story continues ...
The Women's 20K story continues...