Olympic Track and Field events begin Friday and Ducks plan to shine
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Track and Field makes its debut at the Rio Olympics Friday. There are 19 current or former Ducks competing over the next ten days, here’s a preview of who to keep an eye out for on Friday.
HEPTATHLON – BRIANNE THEISEN-EATON (Canada)
Former Duck Brianne Theisen-Eaton will begin her quest for Olympic glory early Friday morning. The heptathlon has four events on Friday, with the final three on Saturday.
As far as her chances, Theisen-Eaton has a great chance to win her first heptathlon in a major event and bring home the gold for Canada. Her score of 6,808 set in Austria in May of 2015 is the highest score any woman has had in the heptathlon since the 2012 Olympics in London.
Theisen-Eaton’s main competition is Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britain, the gold medalist from the London Games in 2012. Ennis-Hill is the reigning world champion in the heptathlon, while Theisen-Eaton finished in 2nd. Ennis-Hill is considered by many to be the favorite, but the gold medal could come down to the final event, the 800m on Saturday night.
5:35 a.m. PT – 100m hurdles
6:50 a.m. PT – High Jump
4:35 p.m. PT – Shot Put
6:05 p.m. PT – 200 meters
WOMEN’S 10K FINAL – ALEXI PAPPAS (Greece)
Former Duck Alexi Pappas is competing in her first Olympic Games. Born in Alameda, Calif., Pappas’ family heritage in Greece allows her to have dual-citizenship. At last month’s European Championships, Pappas finished 11th in the 10k. She is not expected to medal in the event, Almaz Ayana from Ethopia is a strong favorite for the gold.
Women’s 10K Final – 7:10 a.m. PT
WOMEN’S 100M PRELIMINARY ROUND – ENGLISH GARDNER (United States)
English Gardner provided one of the best moments from July’s Olympic Trials when she stunned the track & field world, winning the 100m with a time of 10.74, the fourth fastest time in American history. Gardner, along with her fellow Americans Tori Bowie and Tianna Bartoletta, represent a very fast Team USA. All three Americans have the potential to medal, but they’ll be dealing with competition from runners such as two-time defending Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands.
Women’s 100m Preliminary Round – 7:55 a.m. PT
Women’s 100m First Round – 6:40 p.m. PT
WOMEN’S 1500M FIRST ROUND – ZOE BUCKMAN (Australia)
Rio is the second Summer Games for Buckman, who reached the semifinals of the 1500m in London in 2012. Unfortunately, her personal best of 4:04.82 set in 2013 is about eight to ten seconds slower than the best times in 2016. Buckman will really need to run her absolute best to reach the podium. Faith Kipyegon of Kenya has the fastest time in the world this year and is regarded as a favorite to win gold in Brazil.
Women’s 1500m First Round – 4:30 p.m. PT