Big names from track & field and gymnastics are set to compete on Saturday. Here's a look at what's happening this weekend (April 23-25) on the Road to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Track & Field
Many top American track and field stars, including Noah Lyles and Allyson Felix, will compete this weekend at two of the biggest meets of the year: the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, and the USATF Grand Prix at Oregon Relays in Eugene, Oregon. The latter is the first major competition to be held at historic Hayward Field since its two-year renovation.
In Iowa, the men's and women's pole vault events feature American highfliers Sam Kendricks, the two-time reigning world champion, and Sandi Morris, who finished second at the Rio Games and last two world championships. Both fields are packed with some of the best vaulters since Rio – seven of the top 16 men, and four of the top eight women. Also, 2016 Olympic shot put gold medalist Ryan Crouser of the U.S. throws in his first outdoor meet since breaking the 32-year-old indoor world record in January, and American Keni Harrison, world record-holder in the 100m hurdles, takes on a competitive bunch in just her second meet racing in the event since taking silver at 2019 Worlds.
In Oregon, American phenom Noah Lyles and superstar Allyson Felix take on the iconic men's and women's 100m sprints. Lyles, a 200m specialist who's No. 17 all-time at 100m, will have challengers in compatriots Trayvon Bromell and Mike Rodgers, 11th and 12th all-time, respectively. For Felix, it's just her second major meet racing in the 100m since May 2018. Christian Taylor of the U.S. – winner of the last six world or Olympic titles in triple jump – hop, skips and jumps in his second meet of the year as he prepares to keep that historic streak alive, and two other Americans try their best in events for which they're not known: Sydney McLaughlin, 2019 silver medalist in the 400m hurdles, is entered in the 100m hurdles for the third time this month after having not raced it in a major meet prior to 2021; and reigning 800m world champion Donavan Brazier is in the 1500m race, just his third ever on record as a professional.
NBC Sports is providing back-to-back live coverage of both meets Saturday. You can watch the Drake Relays from 3-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Peacock, the NBC Sports app and nbcsports.com [live stream], and then the USATF Grand Prix at Oregon Relays from 5-7 p.m. ET on all the same places [live stream].
Drake Relays top athletes:
- Ryan Crouser, men's shot put
- Keni Harrison, women's 100m hurdles
- Sam Kendricks, men's pole vault
- Sandi Morris, women's pole vault
- Ashley Spencer, women's 400m hurdles
- Daniel Roberts, men's 110m hurdles
Oregon Relays top athletes:
- Noah Lyles & Trayvon Bromell, men's 100m
- Allyson Felix, women's 100m
- Christian Taylor, men's triple jump
- Sydney McLaughlin, women's 100m hurdles
- Donavan Brazier, men's 1500m
- Deanna Price, women's hammer
- Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH), women's 400m
- Rai Benjamin & Michael Norman, men's 400m
- Michelle Carter, women's shot put
- Jenny Simpson, women's 1500m
- Raevyn Rogers, women's 800m
- Vashti Cunningham, women's high jump
World gold medalists Sunisa Lee, Kara Eaker and Grace McCallum are set to compete at USA Gymnastics' 2021 American Classic on Saturday in Indianapolis.
The competition is an opportunity to qualify for the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, which in turn is where gymnasts qualify for the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials. Senior-level athletes must earn a minimum score of 52.000 and juniors 51.000 in the all-around to qualify for the national championship, and U.S. team members and alternates from the 2019 World Championships automatically qualify.
The 2020 Pan American Championships, delayed until 2021, conclude in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, this weekend with the men's 109+ kg and women's 87+ kg weight classes. Americans Caine Wilkes and 2016 Rio bronze medalist Sarah Robles will match up against the top weightlifters from North and South America, looking to enhance their case for qualification to the Tokyo Olympics.
Three of the four zonal qualifying tournaments for fencing will take place over the weekend, beginning with the Africa qualifier on Friday. The Europe qualifier will kick off Saturday and conclude Sunday while the Asia & Oceania qualifier will begin Sunday and run through Monday.
The American qualifier will begin on Friday, April 29 and end on April 30.
The United States has already qualified for each individual and team fencing event at the Tokyo Games, but the zonal qualifiers will allow for other countries to punch their ticket to the Olympics.