By: Callin Naddy
In a couple of days, the best track and field athletes the US has to offer will be lining up to compete for their ticket to Tokyo.
That’s right – the 2020 (weird, right?) US Olympic Team Trials start this Friday! There will be heartbreak; there will be triumph; there will be . . . questions like who the heck is that person? And to help you with the latter part of that, we’ve compiled this little list – a #socialmediastalking start line, if you will – breaking down a few of the athletes (across all events) you should have on your radar heading into the Trials.
(Photo courtesy of Mu’s Instagram)
Who: Texas A&M freshman from New Jersey. Before last week, was 2021 World leader with her 1:57.73 800 PR. Indoor 600 national record holder and defending champion. 2x NCAA Champion and 48.8 400 relay-splitter.
Why: The youngster is very close to a lock to make her first Olympic team. In addition, Mu has an active social media which makes her a perfect starting point for the casual fan. Her Instagram is full of the TAMU track experience, including frequent Story updates and pictures of her two collegiate records, family support, and teammates. Plus, as part of 800U, Mu is featured in the channel’s YouTube videos.
(Photo courtesy of Claye’s Instagram)
Who: Puma athlete and University of Florida grad. No. 3 triple jumper of all time at 18.14 meters. Two-time Olympic silver medalist (2012 and 2016 triple jump). Olympic bronze medalist (2012 long jump). Reigning triple jump silver medalist at World Championships. Qualified for the Trials at No. 1 in the triple and No. 8 in the long.
Why: In addition to being one of the top jumpers in the world, Claye is a platinum recording artist and recently put out a film with sponsor Red Bull to chronicle his life. He’s also married to 100 hurdle Olympian and Trials No. 5 seed Queen Claye. You could say he’s well rounded. As the top seeded American triple jumper and reigning Olympic and Worlds silver medalist, he is sure to have some screen at the Trials – and potentially the Olympics.
(Photo courtesy of Jonny Zhang @jzsnapz via Norris’ Instagram)
Who: Reebok Boston Track Club athlete and Georgetown / UNC alumna. Fastest American women at 5K this year and 9th all time. 1x NCAA All-American. No. 5 seed heading into the Trials with her 14:51 PR.
Why: Norris has fully come into Olympic team contention this year. She leads American women in the 5K and has run 4:06 in the 1500 this year. A top three finish is no lock – especially considering the strength the field – but Norris has proven herself a gamer in races before. She’s still a bit of an underdog, though, which is why her running-centric Instagram and Twitter make the list. Plus, fiancé Robby Andrews is a professional runner himself.
(Photo courtesy of Cortney White @cortneywhite_ via Benjamin’s Instagram)
Who: USC grad. Nike professional. Third fastest man ever in the 400 hurdles with his 46.98 PR. 2019 World Championships gold (4x4) and silver (400h) medalist. NCAA record holder in the 400 hurdles, 8x NCAA All-American, and 3x national champion. Top seed heading into the Trials.
Where: Instagram @_kingben_
Why: Benjamin is one of the fastest 400 hurdlers of all time and a favorite to medal at the Olympics. He’s not afraid of social media either. He mostly posts racing and training pictures, but his Stories are where a lot of the fun lie. There, he highlights racing in Doha, his impressive sneaker collection, and his dog Thor. There’s also a “Chef’s kitchen” highlight, where he flexs steak meals, carbonara, and shakshuka – all made by him.
(Photo courtesy of Carter’s Instagram)
Who: Nike athlete and University of Texas alum. 3x Olympian and reigning champion. American record holder with her 20.63 throw to win in Rio. 7x NCAA All-American. Certified professional makeup artist. No. 9 heading into the Trials.
Why: Carter is one of the most consistent – and successful – American shot putters of all time, but her social media is a little more unassuming than that. Instead of covering her track accomplishments, she uses her profile to focus on things like body positivity and helping others develop confidence, including through a youth camp. And although it’s not YouTube, Carter gives fans an inside look into her meet weeks with IGTV videos.
(Photo courtesy of Cortney White @cortneywhite_ via Kincaid’s Instagram)
Who: Nike Bowerman runner. University of Portland alum. 2018 USATF 1OK champion. Top 10 all time in the US at 5K and 10K. 2x NCAA All-American. Top seed in the 5K at 12:58 and No. 3 in the 10K at 27:12 heading into the Trials. Podcast host.
Why: Kincaid is one of the top distance runners coming into the Trials and could easily find himself in Tokyo contention. He has a pretty fun-loving Instagram complete with this birthday TikTok shoutout, but his main social media draw is his “Price of a Mile” podcast. Kincaid uses his platform to share the running journeys of other professionals like Ryan Hill, Kate Grace, and Alexi Pappas. It’s a great way to get to know him – and other faces you may be seeing in Tokyo.
Have anyone else to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!