I agree that the trials are awesome, but I still can't get past the argument as to why should the USA (or Japan) get this special treatment...
It's not special treatment. I knew a few people would say that.
1) The reality is both countries picked their Trials races LONG before the IAAF changed the rules. Japan's race is going to be run in a hot as hell mess on purpose to imitate the . Suguro Osako got hurt and dropped out of Tokyo. So if a 2:06 guy gets third in the Japanese Trials, you don't think he should go to the Olymipcs? By having to hit the standard, you are also messin gup the Trials races which in my mind should be tactical to imitate the Olympics.
2) The IAAF ranking system WAY undervalues the quality of the US and Japanese championships. They would be valued the same as the Ghana national championships which is a joke. We are getting unspecial treatment. The reality is it's much harder to finish top 3 at the US Trials than it is to finish top 10 once in a 2 year period in a world marathon major. The US and Japanese Trials should clearly be valued as the equivalent of a gold label race.