Here’s How The New 2020 Olympic Qualifying Rules Would Impact The Sprints, Field Events, and Walks in the United States

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By Robert Johnson
March 18, 2019

On Friday, we showed you how the 2016 US Olympic Track and Field team would have looked for the mid-d and distance events if the new 2020 qualifying rules were in place in 2016. Today, we’re going to show you how the 2016 US Olympic team would have looked for the rest of the events if the new rules were in place.

In case you haven’t been paying close attention, the IAAF has greatly increased the difficulty of the entry standards as they mainly want athletes to qualify via the newly-created world rankings. When the IAAF announced its new qualifying system on March 10, it said that “the process is designed to achieve about 50 percent of the target numbers for each event through Entry Standards and the remaining 50 percent through the IAAF World Ranking System,” but that is somewhat misleading as most of the athletes who qualify via the entry standard would also qualify via the world rankings. The entry standards were mainly designed as an insurance policy for a superstar who might have been out with injury or pregnancy, as the IAAF explained in a press release in July, “Entry standards will be approved and published later this year, but will be set for the sole purpose of qualifying athletes with exceptional performances unable to qualify through the IAAF world rankings pathway.”

Despite that, for some unknown reason, USATF told us on Friday that they won’t pay any attention to the IAAF world rankings for Olympic Trials competitors if there are three people in an event who have hit the qualifying standard. So even if the top three finishers in an event at the US Olympic Trials are all ranked in the top 32 in the world — the IAAF takes at least 32 people for every track and field event except for the multis (24) and 10,000 (27) — if they don’t have the standard, USATF has said they won’t be going to the Olympics if there are three other finishers at the Trials who have hit the qualifying mark.

If the 2020 rules had been in place for 2016, USATF wouldn’t have sent Paul Chelimo — who finished third at the Trials in the 5,000 in 2016 and would have been ranked in the top 30 in the world had the world rankings existed — to the Olympics even though he went on to earn a silver medal as his PR at the time was slower than the 2020 standard. All told, seven US mid-d or distance runners — all of whom were top three at the Trials and five of whom went on to make the final in their event in Rio — would not have made the team.

How would things change for the sprints and field events? We tell you below.

Sprint Events

Every single top-3 finisher would go to the Olympics as they would all have met the 2020 standard.

Field Events 

Men’s High Jump: In 2016, the 1st, 3rd and 6th placers made the team. Using the 2020 rules, only three Americans would have the standard — 1st placer Erik Kynard, 3rd placer Bradley Atkins, and JaCorian Duffield, who didn’t compete at the Trials due to injury. Under the 2020 rules, Duffield could have showed up to the Trials, no-heighted, and still made the team.

1 Erik Kynard – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
2 Kyle Landon – Didn’t have 2016 standard or 2020 standard. Under 2020 rules, might hope to get in on world ranking (didn’t make it in 2016) only if Duffield didn’t show up and no-height on purpose.
3 Bradley Adkins – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
4 Deante Kemper – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank if Duffield didn’t show up and no-height on purpose and #2 didn’t get in on world rank.
5 Trey McRae – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank only if Duffield didn’t show up and no-height on purpose and #2 and #4 didn’t get in on world rank.
6 Ricky Robertson – Made team as he had 2016 standard. Under 2020 rules, he would not have the standard and would hope to get in on world rank only if Duffield didn’t show up and no-height on purpose and #2, #4 and #5 didn’t get in on world rank.
DNC JaCorian Duffield – Didn’t compete at 2016 Trials as he was injured, but could have made team under 2020 rules if he just no-heighted as he was only other American with 2020 standard.

Men’s Pole Vault: In 2016, the top three all made the team. Under 2020 rules, Trials champ Sam Kendricks would qualify automatically while the others would have to hope for an invitation from the IAAF based on their world ranking.
1 Sam Kendricks – Only pole vaulter with 2020 standard, so he would make the team for sure. Everyone else would hope to get in on their world rank.
2 Cale Simmons – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank.
3 Logan Cunningham – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank.

Men’s Long Jump: In 2016, 1st, 2nd, and 4th all made it. Under 2020 rules, the same three guys would make the team.

1 Jeffery Henderson – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
2 Jarrion Lawson – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
3 Will Claye – Didn’t have standard in 2016 and didn’t make team. Wouldn’t make 2020 team either as no standard.
4 Marquis Dendy – Had 2020 standard, would make team.

Men’s Discus Throw: The top three all made it in 2016. In 2020, #1 and #7 would definitely be on the team.
1 Mason Finley – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
2 Tavis Bailey  – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank.
3 Andrew Evans – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank if #2 doesn’t get in.
4 Jason Harrell – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank if #2 and 3 don’t get in.
5 Lance Brooks – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank if #2, 3, and 4 don’t get in.
6 Nate Moses – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank if #2, 3, 4, and 5 don’t get in.
7 Jared Schuurmans – Had 2020 standard, would make team even though he didn’t make it in 2016.

Men’s Hammer: The top three all made it in 2016. None of them would have the 2020 standard, meaning all would have to hope for a bid via the world rankings.
1 Rudy Winkler – Got in on descending order list in 2016, would hope to make it via world rank in 2020.
2 Kibwe Johnson – Got in on descending order list in 2016, would hope to make it via world rank in 2020.
3 Conor McCullough – Got in on descending order list in 2016, would hope to make it via world rank in 2020.

Men’s Javelin Throw: #1, 4 and 11 made it in 2016, In 2020, no one would have standard so all would be hoping to get in via world rank.
1 Cyrus Hostetler – Made team with standard in 2016.
2 Curtis Thompson
3 Riley Dolezal
4 Sam Crouser – Made team with standard in 2016.
5 Sam Humphreys
6 Robert Robbins
7 Timothy VanLiew
8 Capers Williamson
9 Damien Odle
10 Christopher Carper
11 Sean Furey – Made team with standard in 2016.

Women’s High Jump: The top three all made it in 2016. The top two would make it automatically under 2020 rules.
1 Chaunte Lowe – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
2 Vashti Cunningham – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
3 Inika McPherson – No 2020 standard, would hope to make team on world rank.

Women’s Triple Jump: The top three all made it in 2016. Trials champ Keturah Orji would make it automatically under 2020 rules.
1 Keturah Orji – Had 2020 standard, would make team.

2 Christina Epps – No 2020 standard, would hope to make team on world rank.
3 Andrea Geubelle – No 2020 standard, would hope to make team on world rank.

Women’s Javelin: #1-3-4 made team in 2016. In 2020, #3 and 4 would have 2020 standard and be going for sure.
1 Maggie Malone – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank.
2 Hannah Carson – No 2020 standard, would hope to get in on world rank if #1 didn’t get in first.
3 Kara Winger – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
4 Brittany Borman – Had 2020 standard, would make team.

Women’s Heptathlon: #1-2-3 made team in 2016 but #3 wouldn’t go in 2020.
1 Barbara Nwaba 
2 Heather Miller-Koch 
3 Kendell Williams – Made team in 2016 but wouldn’t make it in 2020 as she didn’t have 2020 standard.
4 Sharon Day-Monroe – Had 2020 standard, would make team.

All Other Field Events: (Men’s Decathlon, Men’s Triple Jump, Men’s Shot Put, Women’s Pole Vault, Women’s Shot Put, Women’s Discus, Women’s Hammer) – Top 3 had 2020 standard, no change.

Race Walks

Men’s 20k: No US men made it in 2016 and any in 2020 would have to hope to make it via world rank (top US man is #119 right now, IAAF accepts 60 athletes).
Men’s 50kJohn Nunn made it in 2016 off of the descending order list. Any American in 2020 would have to get in via world rank and that seems likely as the top American right now is ranked #83 and 80 get in (but there is a cap of three per country).
Women’s 20k: The top two at the US Trials got in via the standard in 2016. Only winner Maria Michta-Coffey would get in automatically.
1 Maria Michta-Coffey – Had 2020 standard, would make team.
2 Miranda Melville – No 2020 standard, would hope to make team on world rank (the top 80 in the world ranks with a cap of three per country all make the team and there are only 95 women in the world ranked right now).

Previous: LRC Our Worst Fears Realized: USATF WILL NOT Honor Top-Three Finish At The US Olympic Trials Unless You Have The Standard This is one of the darkest days in history for US distance fans. We emailed USATF to make sure they would be honoring the IAAF world rankings so those top 3 at the Olympic Trials could go to the Olympics – they told us they would not. That means Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo wouldn’t have made the 2016 team, nor would Jared Ward and three other Olympic finalists, including Bernard Lagat, who won the most thrilling race at the Trials. Some US Olympic Trials races may now be totally meaningless.


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