American Track & Field Renaissance
By: Kyle Markley
With the Olympics now behind us, the world is left reflecting on the performances by the medal count and results sheets. After watching the track and field events, I am left with something Phil Knight, AKA “Uncle Phil,” said: track and field is going through a renaissance. This is something that I believe to be true when it comes to American Track and field on the world stage.
As you are probably thinking, what does a renaissance have to do with track and field? Well, a renaissance is said to be a rebirth or revival. And just as Da Vinci recreated what art looked like in Europe, the next generation of track and field athletes for the United States showcased what U.S. dominance will look like in the future. Young stars like Sydney Mclaughlin, Rai Benjamin, Kenny Bednarek, Chris Nilsen, and Athing Mu all medaled in their first Olympics. Others like Grant Fisher, Erriyon Knighton, Cole Hocker, Elle Purrier, and KC Lightfoot all made the final in their events by beating out names that some in the sport might not have believed a year ago. And then there were those like JuVaughn Harrison, Tara Davis, Curtis Thompson, Michael Norman & Grant Holloway who all had phenomenal performances but fell short of their world rankings.
But, there is one thing all these athletes gained: experience. This experience competing against the best in the world in the Olympic Games is something that can’t be taught, only earned. This is why I believe the U.S. will dominate in track and field at the 2024 Paris Games. These first time Olympians will have three years to combine that experience with their talent and hard work to become some of the best athletes this country has ever seen. We’ve seen glimpses of this already with athletes like McLaughin & Mu who both set records and earned gold medals in their individual performances these games. And soon it will be the rest of the team’s time to shine as well.
But this renaissance would not be complete without the knowledge and guidance the seasoned veterans provide. People like Allyson Felix, Galen Rupp, Brittney Reese and Joe Kovacs. These are the athletes that set the standard for what it means to be an Olympian in this country and have helped the next generation of track and field athletes either through competition or advice.
American track and field is changing from a group of seasoned veterans to a group of future stars. The sky is the limit for the 2024 team because they already have the talent and drive. Add in the experience they gained from this Olympics about what it takes to win and they become contenders for medals and championships. Look out, world, because the U.S. track and field team is ready to rumble come 2024.