We’re coming at you with some fun previews of the middle and long-distance races at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We have a great preview of the Men’s Steeplechase by Coach Rob, who was once a world-class steeplechaser himself (despite his not-so-great hurdle technique, see pic a bottom!). But first, we have a preview of the Women’s 800m by Coach Justin. This event is near and dear to his heart, as his fianceé Lindsey Butterworth is representing Canada in this event!
Women's 800m Heats - 6:25pm PST/9:25pm EST - Preview by Justin Kent
The Olympic 800m Heats get underway tonight and for the first time in Canadian history Canada has three women representing— Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, Lindsey Butterworth and Madeline Kelly. All three women are coming off strong seasons and look poised to make a run into the semifinals. They will face a loaded field in Tokyo with five women who have run sub-1:57 times, including the young American prodigy Athing Mu.
The heats get underway tonight 6:25 PM- 7:05 PM (PST). The 6 Heats of 8 will narrow the field of 48 down to 24. For our Canadian women to qualify they will need to come top 3 (Q) in their heat or be within the next 6 fastest times overall (q).
Kicking off the action will be: Heat 1 – Madeline Kelly (2:00.11)
Heat 3 – Melissa Bishop (1:57.01) and Athing Mu (1:56.07 World Leading time)
Heat 4 – Lindsey Butterworth (1:59.19)Can we get three women in the semi?
Men's 3000m Steeplechase Heats - 5:30PM PST/8:30PM EST - Preview by Rob Watson
The men’s athletics competition will be starting with a bang as the premier event in track and field* will be the first to take the track. I am of course talking about the Steeplechase. 3000m of pure track chaos- 28 barriers and 7 water jumps. No lanes, no tippy toppy hurdles and no mercy. If you fail to clear the barrier- you’re going down. If you can’t swim- you might drown. The steeplechase has it all.
This year the event is wide open as none of the medallists from Rio are in the field, nor is 2019 World Champion Conseslus Kipruto. These games may be the first to see a non-Kenyan top the podium since the 1980 games in Moscow. Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia and Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco are the favourites on paper, but you can never predict what is going to happen in this rollercoaster of an event.
Canadian record holder Matt Hughes of Oshawa ON will toe the line for his second Olympics coming off a very respectable 10th place in Rio. He will be joined by Olympic rookie John Gay of Kelowna BC. John is coming into the games with great momentum having secured his spot by running a hugely impressive solo 8:20 at the Canadian Olympic Trials.
Look for both the Canadians to get stuck in and mix it up for those coveted spots in the final.
Catch the preliminary rounds of the Men’s Steeplechase starting at 8:30pm EST/ 5:30pm PST today.
*in the author’s opinion