(BEIJING, June 26) -- Athletics trials for the US Olympic team are scheduled for June 27 to July 6 in Eugene, Oregon. As USA Women's Track and Field coach Jeanette Bolden predicted, the American team to be sent to Beijing this year will be remarkable.
Allyson Felix definitely tops the preliminary list of women competitors in the 100m and 200m. Now 22, Felix was the runner-up in the Women's 200m at the Athens Olympic Games when she was only 18 years old. She has been on the rise since then, capturing one medal each at both Helsinki and Osaka World Championships in 2005 and 2007, respectively. After Osaka, Felix remarked that her "next goal is not the world record, but a gold in Beijing. I want to take it step by step. I might consider to do both – the 200 and the 400 meters – there."
Although Felix is best in the 200m dash, she also excels in the 100m. Felix and her compatriots Muna Lee and Marshevet Hooker have all run times within 11 seconds this year. "I like the 100m but it didn't quite come together this year. I haven't reached my potential because I have problems with my start. But I haven't given up on it, I'm still excited to work on it," she said.
Even with her short legs and unorthodox technique, Lauryn Williams has won many titles in the Women's 100m and 200m. She is one of the fastest women in the world. Williams won the gold medal in the 2005 World Championships and the silver in the 2007 World Championships for the 100m. Although she missed the golden mark in Athens, Williams hopes that Beijing is where her dream comes true.
However, not all good athletes will be able to attend the 2008 Games. "The US has 12 good sprinters and only three slots," said Williams. Her main rivals are Torri Edwards, Allyson Felix, Marshevet Hooker, Carmelita Jeter and Muna Lee.
In the Women's 100m Hurdles, Michelle Perry is a huge favorite. She owns both the 2005 and 2006 World Championship titles in the event. The versatile Perry made her Olympic debut for USA Track and Field in Athens, where she competed in the Heptathlon. However, as the 100m Hurdles is her strongest discipline, she changed her focus, concentrating on this event since 2004. Perry has plenty of reasons to come to Beijing. She trained with her teammate Joanna Hayes – another world class runner -- under the instruction of coach Bob Kersee. "We've made it work," Perry said. "Working out with elite athletes, it's hard on your body and almost like being in a track meet in practice every day."
Shaking off a disappointing finish in the 2004 Olympic trials, Lolo Jones has run impressively this year. In Karlsruhe, Jones ran a personal best time of 7.77 seconds in the Women's 60m Hurdles. This is just behind the time run by Susanna Kallur, who broke the world record with a time of 7.68 seconds. Moreover, Jones won the title in the 60m Hurdles at the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships. If she qualifies this time around, Beijing will be her first Olympic appearance.
The Women's 100m Final will start at 5:48 p.m. on June 28; the Women's 200m Final and 100m Hurdles will be held at 4:40 p.m. and 5:40 p.m., respectively, on July 6, 2008.