Quanera Hayes won in 49.78. She was followed by Felix (50.02) and Wadeline Jonathas (50.03).
“I am proud of making it to this moment,” Felix said after the race. “There has been so much that has gone into this, and there were many times where I didn’t think I would get to this moment.”
Running from lane 8, Felix almost immediately made up the stagger on Kaylin Whitney in lane 9. Hayes, in lane 6, and Jonathas, in lane 5, responded, and were ahead of Felix coming through the final turn.
As they straightened out into the final 100 meters, Hayes was clearly in control. Felix had not run a strong second turn, and her chances of finishing in the top three looked shaky. But the veteran remained calm and held her form, as the women who had run more aggressively in the third 100 meters faltered a bit, and she just eased past Jonathas at the line.
“I told myself before the race that when it comes down to it, I have to fight,” Felix said. “That’s been a theme of mine for the past couple years. I was just gonna give my all and leave it all on the track.”
The opening round of the women’s 400 at the Tokyo Games is scheduled for Tuesday, August 3.
Felix already owns six Olympic gold medals and three silvers in the 200 meters, 400 meters, and various relays. In addition to potentially adding to that individual count in Tokyo, Felix is also eligible to run on the 4×400-meter relay team for the United States. Hayes, Jonathas, and Felix were all on the U.S. squad that won that relay at the 2019 World Championships.
Felix, 35, said in April that her training for the Trials had been more challenging than usual. She has struggled to find tracks to train on in Los Angeles, where she lives, during the pandemic, and much of her focus has been on her two-year-old daughter, Camryn, who is her top priority—and motivation.
The sprinter has been vocal about protecting the rights of athletes who have lost pay during pregnancy, like she did when she was under contract with Nike. (In 2019, Felix signed a contract with Athleta.) Her influence has helped the standards in the industry evolve.
The Olympic motto, expressed in ancient Latin, is “altius, citius, fortius.” A real Man of Troy knows what that means: “faster, higher, stronger,” maximizing one’s potential. USC runner Isaiah Jewett did that on Monday, and he is headed to Tokyo as a result.
Jewett qualified for the United States Olympic Team in Eugene, Oregon. He finished second in the men’s 800-meter final at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials, and he had to push himself to do it.
A week and a half ago, on the same track in Eugene, Jewett won the NCAA national championship in the 800 meters, finishing at one minute and 44.68 seconds. That time of 1:44.68 was a personal best AND a new USC school record.
One might have thought that if Jewett was the best in the NCAA, he simply needed to replicate that time in order to finish in the top three at the trials and qualify for the upcoming Summer Olympics.
Olympic competitions — both the qualifying competitions and the actual Olympic battles we will see in Tokyo — are notable because they distort time.
What seems like a very small amount of time to you and me is a huge, life-defining difference for Olympic athletes.
One second — or anything less — is a very small difference to the common person. In an Olympic qualifying race, it makes the difference between going to Tokyo and staying home. In an Olympic race, it makes the difference between being a gold medalist and not being a medalist at all.
Isaiah Jewett proved this in the 800-meter final on Monday.
His NCAA championship-winning time would not have been good enough to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. He needed to shave .83 seconds off his NCAA time to earn a ticket to Tokyo.
Jewett improved from 1:44.68 to 1:43.85 — .83 seconds faster — to finish second behind winner Clayton Murphy, who ran the 800 in 1:43.17, the best 800-meter time in the world this year.
Altius, citius, fortius.
— USC Track & Field (@USC_Track_Field) June 22, 2021
Isaiah Jewett needed to be better, because everyone else raised his game as well in Eugene. Bryce Hoppel ran HIS season-best time of 1:44.14 to finish third and get the final spot on the Olympic team in the 800. Hoppel’s time was .54 seconds better than Jewett’s NCAA-winning time a week and a half ago.
This 800-meter race was so ruthlessly competitive that American record-holder and current world champion Donovan Brazier finished in last place.
Altius, citius, fortius.
Isaiah Jewett, a Man of Troy, lived up to the “higher, faster, stronger” challenge of Olympic athletes… and how he is officially an Olympian, headed for Japan.
Fight On, Isaiah, and congratulations!