Americans Akins, Hocker qualify at Olympic track trials, Mu out after fall

Athing Mu failed to qualify for Paris 2024 and will not defend her title in the 800-meter event. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
Athing Mu failed to qualify for Paris 2024 and will not defend her title in the 800-meter event. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

June 25 (UPI) -- Several more track stars earned spots on Team USA at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., but a heartbreaking fall perhaps drew the most attention, with reigning 800-meter gold medalist Athing Mu stumbling to miss the cut.

Mu landed on the track as the field approached the third turn during the first lap of the 800-meter finale Monday at Hayward Field. The 22-year-old, who won the last two world titles in the event, quickly got back up and attempted to gain ground, but finished last.


Nia Akins, who made contact with Mu, clocked a 1:57.362 to win on Monday, earning a spot to Paris. She previously fell and finished last in the event during the Tokyo 2020 trials.

"The sport is just crazy and unpredictable and tough," Akins told reporters, when asked about Mu's fall. "Nobody deserves that. She didn't deserve that today. I didn't deserve it three years ago."


"I wouldn't be here today without that happening to me then. Honestly, it took me a while, but I'm super grateful for it. I learned a lot from it."

Allie Wilson (1:58.323) and Juliette Whittaker (1:58.45) joined Akins on the podium to earn additional tickets to the 2024 Summer Games.

Mu clocked a 1:55.21 to win gold in the 800-meter event at the 2020 Summer Games in 2021 in Tokyo. With that victory, she became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the event since Madeline Manning in 1968.

Now, a new 800-meter champion will be crowned in Paris.

Elle St. Pierre (women's 5,000M), Anna Hall (heptathlon), Cole Hocker (men's 1,500M), Jeremiah Davis (long jump), Quincy Hall (400M) and Charity Hufnagel (women's high jump) were among the other event winners on Day 4 of the trials, which will be held through Sunday.

Unlike the other national champions, Hufnagel and Davis did not automatically qualify for the Summer Games because of low world rankings and/or failure to meet Olympic statistical standards.

Hufnagel registered a 1.94 meter high jump to win that event early on. Rachel Glenn (1.93) and Vashti Cunningham (1.91) finished second and third, respectively, but qualified for the Summer Games based on the Olympic standards.


Davis won the long jump with a distance of 8.20 meters, but doesn't have a high enough world ranking for Olympic qualification. Malcolm Clemons (8.18M) and Jarrion Lawson (8.18) joined Davis on the podium and did not reach the Olympic standard in the event, but have sufficient world rankings to make the cut for Paris.

Hocker clocked a 3:30.59 to win the men's 1,500-meter race and qualify for the Summer Games. Yared Nuguse (3:30.86) and Hobbs Kessler (3:31.53) also qualified through the 1,500. The Top 8 finishers in the event all beat the previous U.S. Olympic trial record time of 3:34.09 set by Matthew Centrowitz in 2016.

Quincy Hall (44.17), Michael Norman (44.41) and Chris Bailey (44.42) topped the podium in the men's 400-meter event and are each headed to Paris.

St. Pierre (14:40.34), Elise Cranny (14:40.36) and Karissa Schweizer (14:45.12) led the field in the women's 5,000-meter to earn the final three spots on Day 4 of the trials. St. Pierre set a trials record with her time.

Anna Hall earned 6,614 points to qualify in the women's heptathlon. Chari Hawkins (6,456) and Taliyah Brooks (6,408) also qualified through the event.


American Olympic track and field hopefuls will resume trials competitions Thursday in Eugene. The Thursday slate will include finals for the women's discus throw and women's 3,000-meter steeplechase final. Those respective events will air at 7:55 p.m. and 10:18 p.m. EDT on NBC.

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