The Magic (Johnson) of the Olympic Trials

By: Evan Jones

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson dropped an absolute doozy of a tweet on us yesterday and we need to break it down.


My initial reaction to this is, “sweet, track and field is getting promoted by Magic Johnson.” However, if we dig just beyond the surface of this tweet we can identify some startling points of concern. First, I’m not sure if the capitalization of the word “big” is a reference to him being a massive human or his level of interest in the sport. I assume he likes the sport. That leads us to the next point... What track and field competitions is Magic watching? NCAAs? Diamond League? His niece or nephew’s USATF Club Meets? US Championships? The Olympics? The last two aren’t even every year. Last, and most importantly, how does Magic Johnson not know about the Olympic Trials? Earvin, where have you been, man?

Track and Field undoubtedly has a representation problem in the media, but just about everyone knows about the Olympic Trials. I like to think that Magic has existed in his own world of celebrity, athleticism and poorly running the Lakers that he just missed hearing about the Trials for his 60 some-odd years on Earth.  Anyway, Magic, if you’re reading this (and, let’s face it, you definitely are) here are the top 5 things you need to know about the Olympic trials.

1. The 2020 US Olympic Trials Are Being Held From June 18th to June 27th, 2021 at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon

10 days of unadulterated track and field action is just around the corner! Peep the schedule here. With a full slate of events kicking off Friday June 18th (featuring a range of qualifying rounds and the finals for the men’s Shot Put and 10K) any American track and field fan worth their salt - which Johnson claims to be (though the fact that this article is being written implies otherwise) - is about to be inundated with a practically non-stop stream of content.

2. At His Athletic Peak Could Magic Johnson Win the High Jump?

He just couldn’t. Arguments like this are dumb.

3. Who Makes It to the Olympics?

 Magic, I know you want to know which athletes make it to the Olympics from the Trials. The answer, my man, is the top three finishers in each event. For example, the marathon trials were held last year, right before COVID shut everything down. Galen Rupp, Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman qualified on the men’s side. The US women’s squad consists of Aliphine Tuliamuk, Molly Seidel, and Sally Kipyego.

4. Do We Know Who Has Qualified for the Olympic Trials Yet?

No. Athletes have the next two months to put up qualifying standards for the Trials. If they qualify from a legitimate meet by 1:00 PM Pacific Time on June 13th, they are allowed to compete.

5. Should Magic Johnson Invest in US Track and Field?

Hell yes.