Sports: Donavan Brazier, reigning world champion, fails to qualify for Tokyo Olympics at 800 meters

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EUGENE, Ore. — The fourth day of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials featured possibly the biggest shocker thus far.

Reigning world champion and American record-holder Donavan Brazier finished last in the 800-meter men's final Monday and failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The 24-year-old Brazier finished the race in 1:47.88 – more than four seconds behind the winner, Clayton Murphy, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.

a man holding a racket: Donavan Brazier looks on in the first round of the men's 800 Meters during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021. © Patrick Smith, Getty Images Donavan Brazier looks on in the first round of the men's 800 Meters during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021.

Isaiah Jewett, who recently won a NCAA title at 800 meters for USC, came in second. And Bryce Hoppel will round out the Olympic team.

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Brazier said after the race that he believes he made a move a bit too early in the race and ran out of gas in the final 200 meters. When asked if he is healthy, he said he's had "some things bugging me" but declined to go into specifics.

"There's things that champions overcome, and I couldn't overcome them," Brazier said. "So obviously, I'm not of that championship-caliber that I needed to be at."

When asked if there's anything he could take away from this experience, he said: "I can't take away anything from this experience. I ran pretty (expletive)."

Brazier's last-place finish comes roughly five years after he finished 19th at the 2016 Olympic trials, which he described to reporters in a news conference last week as a "self-destruction."

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Brazier added that he "probably won't" compete in the men's 1,500 later this week.

The American record-holder in the 800 was understandably upset but vowed to rebound from his disappointing performance.

"It was a (expletive) race. I had my head down for a little bit but I'm still gonna feel like I'm that man when I go into track meets,” Brazier said. “I'm still gonna feel like I'm the 800-meter champ and the best 800-meter runner in the world when I go into meets, but today I obviously wasn’t.”

His next big chance at redemption could come at the same location. The 2022 World Athletics Championships are in Eugene at Hayward Field next summer.

Meet record for Purrier St. Pierre

The sweltering heat at Hayward Field did little to slow down Elle Purrier St. Pierre.

The 26-year-old led the women's 1,500-meter final almost from start to finish, setting a personal best and meet record of 3:58.03 to secure her place in Tokyo. Two of her New Balance teammates, Cory McGee and Heather MacLean, finished second and third, respectively.

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"I led most of it, because I believed in myself," Purrier St. Pierre said. "I knew I was strong enough to do that – and I wanted it to be fast."

The win caps a terrific year for Purrier St. Pierre, who married her high-school sweetheart in September and has not lost a 1,500-meter race in 2021. She will now aim to keep it rolling at the Tokyo Games, where she said her goal is to medal.

Jenny Simpson, a three-time Olympian who won a bronze medal in Rio, finished 10th.

Meanwhile, in the women's 5,000 meters, Elise Cranny sneaked past Karissa Schweizer at the finish to claim the Olympic trials title with a season-best time of 15:27.81. Rachel Schneider secured the third Olympic spot.

Claye among winners in field events

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Will Claye won the men's triple jump, using a final jump of 56 feet, 5 3/4 inches (17.21 meters) to edge Donald Scott, who finished second.

Chris Nilsen, meanwhile, claimed trials gold in the men's pole vault by clearing a height of 19-4 1/4, while Curtis Thompson's season-best throw of 271-7 gave him the victory in the men's javelin throw.

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Richardson withdrawing from 200

After her star performance in the 100-meter dash over the weekend, Sha'Carri Richardson has decided to withdraw from her secondary event, the 200.

Richardson has been the fastest American woman at both distances this year, but her camp viewed the 200 as merely a fallback, in case she didn't qualify in the 100. The 21-year-old will likely be favored to win two medals – in the 100 and 4x100 relay – in Tokyo. NBC first reported Richardson's withdrawal Monday morning.

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donavan Brazier, reigning world champion, fails to qualify for Tokyo Olympics at 800 meters

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