Sean MacPherson is writing for us again, he will be doing a daily piece. This is his first for the 2022 World Athletics Outdoor Championships, July 14-24, 2022. I also love Sean’s optimism
By Sean MacPherson RunBlogRun
After a long wait full of anticipation and buildup, the 2022 Eugene World Championships are finally upon us. I have big expectations for the first World Championships on U.S. soil and can’t wait to see the events unfold. Here are the five biggest things I want to see:
1) Great Engagement and Attendance
Last year, there were no fans in the crowd as the world’s best collided in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. This season at Hayward Field, attendance hasn’t always been impressive at big events like the U.S. Championships. I really hope these athletes and this sport draws the attendance and viewership that it deserves. Track and Field could really use an American-based World Championships with fans packed shoulder to shoulder. They’ve been promoting this event for years and I hope to see a massive payoff in viewership and ticket numbers. If engagement doesn’t boom for this meet, I’m not sure when it ever will.
2) World Records
Global Championships are where we often see world records take place. This year will be no different; I think we will see at least one world record based on the level some athletes are at right now. If I were a gambling man, my money would be on Sydney McLaughlin to once again break her own record. She has been on a completely new level in a small sample size of 400-meter hurdle races this season. She broke a world record with no one to push her at the U.S. Championships. Now imagine what she can do with Femke Bol and Dalilah Muhammad beside her. Of course, any time athletes like Ryan Crouser and Mondo Duplantis take the stage their own world records are in trouble. I would also keep an eye on both of the American 4×400 relay teams.
3) Men’s 200: Lyles vs. Knighton
I believe that Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton are becoming one of the great individual rivalries in track and field. These two young superstars put on a great show competing against each other at the U.S. Championships. After Lyles came back in the Final and claimed the victory, there was a little bit of tension between the two, and I’m ecstatic to see how Knighton responds on the bigger stage. After all, the 18-year-old sensation holds the world lead with a jaw-dropping time of 19.49 earlier this season. While these are the two favorites, do not count out fellow American Fred Kerley with more rest in between the sprinting events. I will also add that Joseph Fanbulleh showed insane top-end speed at the NCAA Championships and should not be counted out either. Be sure to grab some popcorn before the Men’s 200 meters takes place.
4) American Success In the Men’s 4×100 Relay
The Americans hold a massive amount of pressure that faces the Americans in the 4×100 relay. In the 16 global championships held so far in the 21st century, the U.S. has successfully crossed the finish line 7 times. Every other time they’ve either failed to qualify, did not finish the race, or had their result abolished due to a doping allegation. It felt like things hit a boiling point at the 2020 Olympics when the team butchered its handoff and failed to qualify for the final. This season, the U.S. has four of the fastest 100-meter runners in that event, plus the likes of Erriyon Knighton and Noah Lyles to choose from if it wanted. There are absolutely no excuses this time around and here’s to hoping that the team has been practicing its handoffs.
5) Americans Fighting For Medals in Distance Events
By now we’ve grown accustomed to Kenyans, Ethiopians, and Ugandans dominating the distance events on the global stage, and rightfully so. We have witnessed incredible consistency and success from athletes out of these countries in the events 800 meters or longer. But in these World Championships, there are a few American athletes I think have a legit chance to medal on home soil. These athletes are Bryce Hoppel (800 meters), Grant Fisher (10,000 meters or 5,000 meters), Woody Kincaid (5,000 meters), Elise Cranny (5,000 meters), Cooper Teare (1500 meters), Sinclaire Johnson (1500 meters), and Karissa Schweizer (5000 meters or 10,000 meters). The amount of athletes I just named shows the insane talent that the U.S. currently has in distance running. Who can actually win gold? I will say, Bryce Hoppel and Grant Fisher.
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