Friday, June 8, 2012

Track & Field has Standards

It’s hard to believe, but the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field begin in less than two weeks.  Held at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, the meet will be split into two sessions.  The first session will run from June 21 – 25 and then, after two days off, the second session will run from June 28 – July 1.  A complete listing of the meet schedule can be found at
In the upcoming weeks I will be previewing events with Minnesota athletes in them.  But first I’d like to go over the qualifying standards to let everyone know what it takes to even make it to this meet and then (hopefully) onto London for the Olympic Games.  Even as an avid track & field fan, I often find myself confused when I read or hear about A-standards and B-standards – especially because the U.S. Trials has one set of standards, while the Olympic Games has another set.  So you really have to pay attention to understand what a particular athlete is trying to achieve whenever they step on the track.  
Simply put, an A-standard automatically qualifies an athlete for the Trials meet.  Therefore, athletes that have the Trials A-standard are guaranteed a spot on the starting line in Eugene.  B-standards are considered provisional and, typically, other requirements must be met.  For example, the 10,000m is likely to be limited to 24 runners.  All the athletes that met the A-standard are allowed in, along with the next fastest B-standard runners, until the 24-runner cap is met.  That’s why you may have heard about some local runners, like Team USA Minnesota’s Meghan Armstrong-Peyton (, still running meets, trying to move from a B to an A-standard in order to ensure that she’s on the starting line at the Trials.  And you may also be following 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson ( and her attempts at earning a B-standard in the 5,000m.
Here’s a look at the different U.S. Trials standards for men and women in the distance running events;

Men’s U.S. Trials A-standards
800m – 1:46.5
1500m – 3:39.0
5000m – 13:33.0
10,000m – 28:15.0
Steeplechase – 8:32.0

Men’s U.S. Trials B-standards
800m – 1:48.3
1500m – 3:43.0
5000m – 13:50.0
10,000m – 29:00.0
Steeplechase – 8:45.0

Women’s U.S. Trials A-standards
800m – 2:01.3
1500m – 4:12.9
5000m – 15:35.0
10,000m – 32:45.0
Steeplechase – 9:55.0

Women’s U.S. Trials B-standards
800m – 2:05.9
1500m – 4:17.0
5000m – 15:50.0
10,000m – 34:00.0
Steeplechase – 10:15.0
A complete listing of qualifying standards for all of the events can be found at
Next time, I’ll go over the Olympic Game standards and some of the rules regarding what happens when athletes place in the top-3 at the U.S. Trials, but don’t have an Olympic Games A-standard. 
Talk about confusing!

1 comment:

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It sounds quite hard but there are a lot of people that they are within those marks.