Five-minute action at the backstretch on the Olympic track provided the perfect snapshot of what is happening right and what is wrong for the U.S. track & field team in Tokyo.
Katie Nageotte, who was in the pole vault pit on Thursday night, cleared 4.90m (16 feet, 1″). She then ran up to the stands to receive a gold medal, which had seemed like a lost cause an hour prior.
The next race was a sprint for 400 meters. Just as the competitors were approaching the halfway point, American champion Michael Norman was speeding ahead of the competition so it became obvious that he couldn’t sustain his pace.
He didn’t. Norman was fourth. The U.S. men’s sprinters were once the dominant force across the global track game. They left the stadium without winning a single medal in the nine-day event’s first seven days.
Nageotte’s silver, which she won in a tight back-and-forth against Russian athlete Anzhelika Sydorova was the third victory for the U.S.A., the other two having been won by women.
Olympic Stadium is now closed for two days. What started out as an anomaly can now become a trend.
American women are doing well.
American men are not like them.
Overall, the U.S. is performing well at field events.
Overall, it is having trouble on the track.
There were other instances Thursday that occurred for the Americans.
–Grant Holloway (defending world champion) was.01 seconds behind the world record in the 110-meter hurdles earlier this summer. He came.05 shy of Hansle Parchment of Jamaica, who won in 13.09. This was Jamaica’s third Olympic medal in the gold category after Usain Bolt.
Will Claye finished fourth in triple jump, which was considered a good bet to win with Christian Taylor (defending champion). Pedro Pichardo from Portugal was the winner.
On a day when eight gold medals were presented, Nafissatou Tham (heptathlon) was among the other winners. Damian Warner (decathlon) from Canada was also a winner.
Massimo Stano, who won the race walk of 20 kilometres, was also awarded the gold medal in track. He moved to Sapporo in order to beat the Tokyo heat and earn Italy its third gold medal.
The U.S. ended Thursday with five medals, and 20 overall. This is 13 more than any other country — although there were some exceptions.
Athing Mu and Sydney McLaughlin were able to capture the two golds for the country from the track. And Ryan Crouser gutted out an emotion-drenched victory to defend his Olympic shot put title.
Few would have predicted that Crouser’s win on Thursday would be the first ever in any event for men, who account for about half the strongest team in the world.
Norman’s fourth place finish was the perfect end to a miserable day of running for red, white, and blue.
His mother, who was Japanese and holds a 100-meter national record, makes him a popular figure in Japan. He was to compete with Steven Gardiner from the Bahamas. However, Gardiner won the showdown in 43.85 seconds to add to his title at the world championships in Qatar two years ago.
Much earlier in the day came a rite of passage for the U.S. at the Olympics: A debacle in the men’s 4×100 relay.
Ronnie Baker and Fred Kerley got into a tangle in an exchange. This cost them precious time. They left the U.S. with a “DQ” but an ugly “6” as their names. They won’t be running for the first relay gold since Bolt disappeared.
The 4×400 relay is a good opportunity for men’s sprinters. This event has been won by the United States at seven of the nine Olympics.
Michael Cherry is expected be part of that team. Cherry, 26, who was second to Norman in the 400, tried positive thinking. He said it was a young team that is heading into unknown waters. USA Track and Field reports that 81 of the 133 team members are attending their first Games.
Cherry stated, “We have college students and we’ve got men who just graduated college.” “So, we’re still a young team. We will be the dominant team soon. Everyone has to learn and adapt.”
Nageotte, who is 30 years old, is relatively new to the international stage. As American Olympic champions in pole vault, she is now on the same list as Jenn Suhr or Stacy Dragila.
It was almost impossible for it to happen.
Nageotte, who battled COVID-19 earlier in the year only to return and go viral when she cleared a personal best (4.95) to win the Olympic trials, said she felt tightness in her leg during warmups.
She opened her evening by failing to reach the first height of 4.5 meters.
She said that she knew my family woke up early to watch me and would feel very guilty if they had to get up at 6 AM to watch me. “So that was definitely what I was thinking.”
She was eliminated and she jumped for joy after clearing the height.
After clearing 4.9, Sidorova missed her, Nageotte ran into Sidorova’s stands to hug her and share congratulations with the other competitors. After setting the bar at 5.01, Nageotte taped up her pole and prepared for the next U.S. record attempt.
She ran down the runway, but came up short. Anguished at what she had just experienced, she couldn’t focus.
She explained, “The emotion of winning.”
The U.S. will be looking for it in many different locations at the Olympic track meet.