The men’s 800 meters was an electrifying race.
Donavan Brazier looked ready to move until 200m to go and he could not respond, as Clayton Murphy went by, with Bryce Hoppel in quick pursuit and Clayton chased down Isaiah Jewitt, who almost pulled a David Rudisha (you know, lead all the way and win from the front like he did in 2012).
Sean MacPhearson wrote this piece on the men’s 800m, a most complicated race. Sean writes for the SOJC collective or Sports Bureau.
We thank Professor Lori Shontz, who put this team together for RunBlogRun.
Lori Shontz and Larry Eder edit the pieces by SOJC.
The men’s 800m, between nightmare and ecstasy…
By Sean MacPherson
SOJC Track Bureau for RunBogRun
Perhaps the biggest shock of the Olympic Trials thus far came Monday in the men’s 800-meter final, where the favorite to win the event finished in the last place.
U.S. record holder Donovan Brazier, the 2019 world champion, will not go to Tokyo. Sitting in second place with 200 meters to go, Brazier was passed by Clayton Murphy, and others went with him. Brazier failed to respond.
“With about 200, I knew. When Clayton passed me, I couldn’t match,” Brazier said. “There were seven people better than me today.”
Murphy won his second straight Olympic trials 800 in a world-leading 1:43.17 with a blistering kick down the homestretch. Isaiah Jewett, who won the NCAA title just 10 days before, finished second in a personal best 1:43.85. Bryce Hoppel, the 2019 Indoor and Outdoor NCAA champion, held on for third in 1:44.14.
“You can say I executed it to perfection,” said Murphy. “It was one tough last six months, especially the past eight days. It was an individual 1:43, but far from an individual accomplishment.”
Jewett kept the race honest with an opening lap of 50.60 to lead the pack. Jewett followed that up with a 25.06 third 200 to keep a healthy gap on the field.
“My coach told me to stay confident through the first lap, and the second lap he literally told me to have fun,” said Jewett. “It’s up to you at this point. You made it all the way here. That’s what I tried to do. Keep it honest. Keep it going.”
After going through 600 in 1:15.66, it took pure grit for Jewett to reach the line in the top three. Murphy passed Jewett with about 50 meters to go, but the collegian wouldn’t let anyone else by.
“I blanked out. I was in my own world. And I just kept pushing.” said Jewett. “Coach just told me when the pain comes, that’s when you know greatness is about to occur. Push through it, whether win or lose. And you’ll learn something.”
Hoppel held off Isaiah Harris for third place to make his first Olympic team.
“Everyone was a threat out there. It was incredible,” said Hoppel. “The team could have been anyone: Donovan. Both Isaiah’s. Clayton. I am just incredibly grateful to get top three and represent the U.S.”
Murphy celebrated his victory by posing with his arms crossed.
“I watch a lot of F1 and Euro Cup,” he said. “Max Verstappen won the French Grand Prix and sat on his car with his arm crossed. I crossed my arms in the mirror before I left, and my wife asked what I was doing. I thought it would be my celebration gesture today.”