Track & Field Day 8: Allyson Felix races for medal No. 10

Posted at 2:19 PM, Aug 05, 2021

Day 8 of track and field at the Tokyo Olympics is Friday in Japan and only includes an evening session, therefore Friday morning stateside.

There are finals in the women's 400m, women's and men's 4x100m relays, women's 1500m, men's 5000m, women's javelin, men's 50km walk and women's 20km walk.

And, for the final first round of the Games, heats of the men's 4x400m relay.

Men's 50km Walk

Final (4:30pET)


China's Luo Yadong, fifth at the 2019 World Championships, took an early lead after about six miles and held it for the next eight miles before being overtaken shortly before the midway point.

That's when Poland's Dawid Tomala, 19th in the 20km at the 2012 London Olympics, assumed the lead and never looked back, clocking 3:50:08 to win gold in just his third 50km race ever.

German Jonathan Hilbert earned silver while Evan Dunfee of Canada repeated his finish from the 2019 World Championships in third with bronze.

Kawano Masatora was the top Japanese finisher in sixth. 

The Japanese, who prior to the Games owned seven of the top 10 times recorded over the leadup cycle since Rio, are led by Kawano, 11th-fastest all-time at 50 km, and Maruo Satoshi, fourth at the 2017 World Championships. Their compatriot and the event's reigning world champion Suzuki Yusuke pulled out, reportedly due to a lack of high intensity training.

World record-holder Yohann Diniz of France, the 2017 world champion, and Suzuki's runner-up at Doha worlds Joao Vieira of Portugal are expected to contend.

SEE MORE: Poland's Dawid Tomala wins men's 50-kilometer walk

Women's 20km Walk

Final (3:30aET)


Antonella Palmisano finished in 1:29:12 for gold, picking up the pace in the final four kilometers and beating silver-medal winner Sandra Arenas of Colombia.

Defending champion Liu Hong of China – who won gold in this event five years ago in Rio – took bronze.

China's trio of racewalkers – Yang Jiayu, Liu and Qieyang Shenjie – clocked the second- through fourth-fastest times in history at the 2021 Chinese national championships in March.

Technically, their marks were just short to overtake Russian Elena Lashmanova's 1:23:39 from 2018, but that time is not recognized by World Athletics as the world record, therefore by official terms the Chinese have the top if not three best performances in the event's history.

Yang is the world record-holder and 2017 world champion; Liu the defending Olympic champion and 2012 bronze medalist; and Qieyang the 2019 world and 2012 Olympic silver medalist.

Men's 4x400m Relay

1st Round (7:25aET)


The United States' first-round men's 4x400m relay prelim squad – Trevor Stewart, Randolph Ross, Bryce Deadmon and Vernon Norwood – clocked a world-lead 2:57.77 for the win in heat one, advancing the team into the final.

Entering Tokyo the U.S. owned all five spots atop this season's world-best men's open 400m list; among them, only reigning NCAA indoor champion Noah Williams did not make the trip.

Randolph Ross, the reigning NCAA outdoor individual 400m champion, Michael Norman, joint-No. 4 all-time at 400m, and 2019 world gold medalist in the event Michael Cherry – respectively one, two and four on that list – are the three who represented the U.S. in the open 400m. None made the podium.

The fifth, Bryce Deadmon, runner-up to Ross at NCAAs, has already won bronze in the mixed 4x400m relay, anchoring the prelim team that initially disqualified but was reinstated.

Team USA also has Trevor Stewart and Vernon Norwood, lead and anchor legs on the mixed 4x400m relay bronze-winning final team; Elija Godwin, lead leg on that team's first-round prelim squad; and possibly even 400m hurdles silver medalist Rai Benjamin, who won gold in the event in Doha, in the mix from which to choose.

Had it not been for a retroactive anti-doping medal strip of its 2000 Sydney Games gold, the U.S. would've won seven straight medals in the event from 1984-2008. It suffered a fair-and-square loss to the Bahamas at the next Olympics in London, before reclaiming gold in Rio.

SEE MORE: U.S. men execute blistering 4x400m relay for heat win

Women's Javelin

Final (7:50aET)


Poland's Maria Andrejczyk enters as the world leader by a good two meters, having thrown 71.40m in May. The mark bettered her previous best from 2016 by an astonishing 14 feet and made her the third-best women's javelin thrower of all time. She was the top thrower of the qualifying round with 65.24m.

Germany's Christin Hussong, the world No. 2 this year, was fourth at the 2019 World Championships .

American Maggie Malone, third-best thrower this year, finished second among qualifiers behind Andrejczyk with 63.07m.

Lyu Huihui of China, rounding out the season's top four thus far, won bronze at both the 2019 and 2017 world championships, and took silver at the global event's 2015 edition.

Men's 5000m

Final (8:00aET)


World record-holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda was upset in the 10,000m – an event in which he's also the all-time best – on the opening night of track and field one week ago Friday.

Cheptegei still took 10K silver, but with the double in mind may have conserved too much. Without that on his mind in the 5K, this might not be a race at all.

Those challenging: Cheptegei's teammate Jacob Kiplimo, who earned bronze behind the reigning 10K champion in that event's final; world leader Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, the fastest non-East African born runner in the event's history; and Spaniard Mohamed Katir, who led the field overall in first-round qualifying.

Women's 400m

Final (8:35aET)


American Allyson Felix, competing in her last individual Olympic race at 35 years old, has a chance to add to her nine medals. If she does, she'll tie Carl Lewis for most all-time among U.S. track and field athletes with 10, and break a tie with Jamaican Merlene Ottey, who won three silver and six bronze, for most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history.

Defending Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who's memorable dive at the line in Rio beat Felix for gold, initially decided to prioritize the 200m and forgo a 200m-400m double attempt. Her request to change the Games schedule to accommodate for adequate recovery time between event rounds was denied – a petition Felix was successful in making for Rio.

But the Bahamian left open the option and ultimately entered into both for Tokyo. It's unclear when a decision was made to compete in both, but in her first two races on Monday, Miller-Uibo finished back in sixth in both the heats and semifinals of the 200m. With the major schedule conflict occurring the next day – the 400m prelims preceding the 200m final – Miller-Uibo not only participated in the former but won her heat in 50.50 for the second-best time of the round. Twelve hours later, she tanked in the 200m final, finishing last in 24.00.

Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic topped that 400m first round ahead of Miller-Uibo in 50.06. Cuba's Roxana Gomez was next in 50.76, followed by Felix in 50.84.

In the semifinals, 2013 world bronze medalist Stephenie Ann McPherson, 32, unleashed a quarter-second personal best of 49.34 to advance as to the final as the top seed. Her previous best, a 49.61 run at Jamaica's trials in June, had been nearly a third of a second better than the best before that, a 49.92 from eight years ago at the 2013 Monaco Diamond League meet.

Behind McPherson, seven other women went sub-50 in the semis; most notably, Paulino in a national-record 49.38 and Felix in a season-best 49.89. For Felix, it was the first time she had dipped under the mark in the open event in four years, when she clocked 49.65 in July 2017 at the London Diamond League meet.

Women's 1500m

Final (8:50aET)


Reigning world champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands will try to claim gold No. 2 in her attempt to triple across middle and long distances.

She won her first Monday in the 5000m by defeating Kenyan Hellen Obiri, the only reigning world champion of the three events not her, in 14:36.79.

But the 1500m is perhaps her toughest challenge, the most likely of the three events to spoil the bid, because she'll have to beat defending Olympic champion and world leader Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, who topped both the first round and semifinals in a respective 4:01.40 and 3:56.80.

Hassan beat Kipyegon by more than two seconds to win her 2019 world title. But in July at the 2021 Monaco Diamond League meet, Kipyegon returned the favor by defeating Hassan by two and a half seconds in a national-record 3:51.07, becoming the fourth-fastest of all time at the distance.

Hassan is entered to run the 10,000m less than 24 hours later on Sautrday.

Women's 4x100m Relay

Final (9:30aET)



The United States, Jamaica and Great Britain all made it through to the final. The nations have taken all the medals at the last three global championships.

It was USA-JAM-GBR at the 2016 Rio Games, USA-GBR-JAM at the 2017 World Championships in London and JAM-GBR-USA at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

Great Britain clocked a national-record 41.55 to take heat one, followed by the American team in second at 41.90 and Jamaicans in third at 42.15.

Jamaica fields one of the best teams in history, led by seven-time Olympic medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and four-time Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah, who completed a historic sprint double-double at these Games. Respectively, the pair is No. 3 and No. 2 on the all-time 100m list behind world record-holder Florence Griffith-Joyner.

Presumptive third member, Shericka Jackson, is tied for 11th on that list at 10.76, having clocked the time in the Tokyo 100m final for bronze.

The U.S., without its top sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson, will likely contend for silver with Great Britain.

"A" teams will be kept on the bench for the first round.

Men's 4x100m Relay

Final (9:50aET)



The United States finished sixth in its heat, failing to make it into the final.